The Candy Cane Classic is underway at Gibault Catholic High School, with two local girls hoops squads earning the right to play each other.
Columbia (4-4) and Waterloo (9-2) will battle in the second round of the tournament at 6 p.m. Wednesday, with the winner advancing to Saturday’s championship game.
The Eagles opened Candy Cane Classic play with a 69-31 victory over New Athens on Monday. Karsen Jany led the way for Columbia with 19 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Taylor Holten, a 6-foot-tall center, added 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Prior to the tourney, Columbia posted a 44-32 conference win over Salem on Thursday. Jordan Holten, a 5-foot-10 freshman, had 14 points and six rebounds. Jany added 13 points.
Jany, a 5-foot-9 junior guard, leads Columbia in scoring this season at 13.1 points per game – including 44 percent shooting from three-point range.
The Bulldogs had no trouble in their tourney opener, winning 58-25 over Valmeyer on Monday. Waterloo led 27-2 after the first quarter.
Norah Gum, a 6-foot-tall junior, poured in 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Bulldogs. She leads Waterloo in scoring this season at 16.5 points per game and also averages nearly nine rebounds per contest.
Prior to the tourney, Waterloo picked up a 73-63 conference victory over Mascoutah on Thursday. The Bulldogs took control of the game by outscoring Mascoutah, 20-11, in the third quarter.
Sam Lindhorst, a 5-foot-10 junior, led the ‘Dogs with 22 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Liv Coulson added 16 points and Gum contributed 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Prior to Valmeyer’s tourney opening loss to Waterloo, the Pirates (1-5) dropped a 32-31 contest to Marissa on Thursday.
Valmeyer led 28-19 after three quarters but could not hold on. Brooke Miller led the Pirates with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
The Pirates continue Candy Cane Classic play Wednesday night against New Athens.
Gibault (5-5) opened tourney play Tuesday night against Chester, winning 52-36. Kailynne Small led the way with 22 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks.
The Hawks will play Red Bud on Thursday night. Red Bud won against Metro East Lutheran.
Gibault was busy prior to the tourney, winning two of three recent games under new head coach Mike Juenger.
Last Wednesday, the Hawks dropped a 55-50 contest to Red Bud. Small led Gibault with 25 points, eight rebounds and seven steals.
On Thursday, Gibault won 45-27 at Metro East Lutheran. Bri Baldridge made seven three-pointers en route to a 22-point night. Small added 13 points and eight assists.
On Saturday, the Hawks won 46-40 over Wood River despite shooting just 3-for-30 from three-point range.
Small, a sophomore, stuffed the stat sheet with 24 points (12-for-13 free-throws), seven rebounds, five steals and three blocks. Baldridge added 13 points, eight rebounds and five steals.
Small is averaging nearly 20 points and eight rebounds per game this season.
In non-tourney action, Dupo (5-4) lost 40-39 at home to Sparta on Monday night. The Tigers shot just 1-for-13 from three-point range in the loss.
Alexis Curtis led Dupo with 15 points, with Octavia Heidelberg adding 13 points and 10 rebounds.
On Thursday, Dupo won 53-10 over Lebanon. The Tigers led 18-0 after the first quarter and outscored Lebanon, 17-1, in the third quarter.
Curtis led Dupo with 17 points. Heidelberg added 12 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks.
Dupo plays at New Athens on Thursday and at Valmeyer on Monday.