Bulldogs earn top-seed
St. Anthony awarded favorites' role in 45th annual event

VANDALIA - For the Vandalia Holiday Tournament, the 46th annual that begins on Monday morning, the initial story-line is not about who is there; it is about who is missing.

Four teams from last season, 2015 champion Altamont, Greenville, South Central and St. Elmo-Brownstown are no longer in the tournament while the newcomers are Maryville Father McGivney and Ramsey.

Dropping to an eight-team pool play event changes the dynamic of the event, forcing a day of crossover games to guarantee that the teams all get a fifth game.

Although the talent level appears to be down as a whole, the VHT should still produce some interesting games being played December 26-29.

St. Anthony (9-1, No. 1 Seed, Pool A)
Top Players: Drew Gibson (20.5 p.p.g.), Adam Levitt (9.9 p.p.g.), Alex Deters (9.4 p.p.g.) Cade Walsh (7.7 p.p.g.), Jack Nuxoll (7.6 p.p.g.). Alex Beasley (5.6 p.p.g.).

The Bulldogs are the top-seed and will be the favorite to reach the final game from Pool A as their five top scorers are all over seven-points a game.

They have just a loss to crosstown rival 3A Effingham and wins over 3A Breese Central, 2A Robinson, 2A Champaign St. Thomas-More, 2A Sullivan and 2A Newton on the slate so far.

Coach Cody Rincker has six reliable scoring options on a club that has faced a tough schedule so far.

Flora (2-7, No. 2 Seed Overall, Pool B)
Top Players: Jeffery Gaither, Trevin Smith, Trenton Brown, Owen Leib, Chris Scott and Jordan Winka.The Wolves opened their season with a win over Hillsboro at the Carlyle Kaskaskian Classic and then lost the next three at the tournament to 1A power Okawville, New Athens and Greenville to finish last at the event.

Four consecutive losses followed to Edwards County, Lawrenceville and Mount Carmel on the road and then a home loss to 2A power Marshall.

It took overtime but the Wolves broke the streak with an overtime win at 1A Christopher last Thursday.

Patoka (11-1, No. 3 Seed Overall, Pool B)
Top Players: Jered Cain (24.5 p.p.g.) and Garrett Belcher (20.8 p.p.g.)

The Warriors have won both of their regular season tournaments and have just an upset loss to Cisne on Saturday, December 10, in the first game of the Wayne City Holiday Tournament on the bad side of a sparkling record.

After having reached the 1A Carbondale Supersectional last March, Coach Joe Eddy has his club playing well heading into the VHT.

On the plus side they have a win over previously unbeaten Wayne City on the Indians home floor 41-40 in the title game at WC and wins over 2A Red Hill, 1A Webber Township, 1A St. Elmo-Brownstown (title game at Mulberry Grove Thanksgiving Tournament), Odin, Mulberry Grove, South Central (2), Ramsey and North Clay.

Vandalia (8-3, No. 4 Seed Overall, Pool A)
Top Players: Richie Well (20.1 p.p.g.), Mark Zimmerman (14.3 p.p.g.) Nathan Casey (14.0 p.p.g.), Dakota Graham (9.3 p.p.g.). and Garett McNary (6.3 p.p.g.).

The Vandals have victories over Hillsboro, Litchfield and Gillespie along with wins over Mulberry Grove and South Central (2) and losses to Carlyle, Greenville and Altamont.
They topped Cumberland and St. Elmo-Brownstown last week to cop the championship of the St. Elmo Holiday Tournament despite coughing up a 20-point fourth quarter lead.

Shelbyville (6-1, No. 5 Seed Overall, Pool B)
Top Players: Malcolm Miller, 6-foot-4 SO. PG, Hunter Plumber, 5-foot-7 SR SG, Turner Pullen, 6-foot-3 JR. F.
The Rams are a contender here as Miller and Company enter the tournament with just a loss to Decatur Lutheran while picking up wins over Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond, Sangamon Valley, Okaw Valley, Pana, Windsor-Stewardson-Strasburg and Hillsboro.
Miller netted 27-points and hit five 3-pointers in the win over A-L-A-H in his last outing.

Pana (1-3, No. 6 Seed Overall, Pool A)
Top Players: Adam Miller (15.8 p.p.g.), Nick McMillen (9.0 p.p.g.) and Kyle Lynch (6.3 p.p.g.) Coach Adam Metzger took over the helm this season after Coach Gary Bowker stepped down and his club is off to just a 1-3 beginning with close losses to Nokomis and Central A&M and a 67-52 defeat at the hands of Shelbyville.
The Panthers have one win over Roxana, 57-22, and are looking to build on that victory at the VHT.

Ramsey (2-8, No. 7 Seed, Pool A)
Top Players: Brady Black (16.5 p.p.g.), Kolten Alderman (9.4 p.p.g.).

The Rams have a pair of wins over Sandoval and Decatur Christian with losses to Patoka, South Central, North Clay, Cowden-Herrick-Beecher City, Clay City, Cumberland, South Central and Central A&M.

Black, a 5-foot-9 senior guard, has been a three-year starter for the Rams.

Father McGivney (0-8, No. 8 Seed Overall, Pool B)
Top Players: Logan Shumate (8.9 p.p.g.) , Dan Jones (7.3 p.p.g.) Alex Loeffler (5.3 p.p.g.).

The Griffins are in their first season of IHSA sanctioned action and they have only played one game, a 42-37 defeat to Greenfield, in which the final margin was less than 10-points.
They have lost to four powerhouse teams; Nashville, Columbia, Wesclin and Civic Memorial.

The Griffins' head coach is no stranger to the Vandalia Holiday Tournament as Rich Beyers was a member of the Shelbyville Rams team that won the state championship in 1996 after finishing second in the 1995 VHT to Springfield Calvary.