Tournament champs make early season statements
Unbeaten teams roar out of the gate; Highlight Week 1 of 2018-19
MT. VERNON - After the first week of the season there are some major ABV props to send out.

The Fairfield Mules won one of the toughest first week tournaments, going 4-0 to take home the title of the Lawrence County Capital Classic.

It was the first championship for the Mules at this event.

Coach Scott McElravy and his squad beat rivals Lawrenceville, Salem and Olney Richland in the Lawrenceville Pool on Friday and Saturday morning.

All three of the wins were close games with the Salem victory coming in overtime, 71-63.

And then they took home the championship with a 74-64 win over last year's winner Teutopolis.

Fairfield senior guard Jayzale O'Neal was named the Most Valuable Player of the event while teammates Wyatt Gilbert and Brian Estes were named to the all-tournament team.

“I don't know how it will all turn out (this season) but this is one of the most fun teams I've had,” said Coach McElravy.

Coach Tom Brannan of Casey-Westfield this season has a squad that is immensely talented.

The Warriors showed it last week by “running the table” at the Cumberland Thanksgiving Tournament.

The Warriors rolled to a 4-0 mark as the romped past 3A Charleston, 88-47 in the title game.

A 12-point win over Altamont was the closest decision of the tournament as Coach Brannan notched career win number 500 in the process.

He is 500-207 in his career as he is in his 26th season.

Six-foot-six senior Luke Richards of C-W was named the MVP of the tournament.

By the way, Casey-Westfield (#5) and Fairfield (#6) were in the ABV Preseason 2A Top Ten.

They will play each other at the Mules Barn in Fairfield on December 21 in a game that could feature a pair of unbeaten team in what could be a sectional match up in March.

Another of the unbeaten teams to take home hardware in the opening week was the Eldorado Eagles and head coach Josh Bradley.

After graduating a lot of good players last season, the Eagles mostly newcomers took care of business by once again defending their Vienna Thanksgiving Classic title.

They stormed to a 5-0 mark with wins over Carrier Mills-Stonefort, Century, Cobden, Vienna and Galatia.

Only the Cobden win on Friday night was close, 48-43.

The Eagles outscored the five victims by a combined 129 points.

Eldorado senior Joe Mayberry was named the MVP of the Classic as Eldorado nabbed their third consecutive title in the event.

Another of the champs from the first week are the Thompsonville Tigers and head coach Pete Gordon, who won three straight games to take home the top spot at the Christopher Turkey Tournament.

Thompsonville won games over Zeigler-Royalton and Norris City-Omaha-Enfield to get to the title game.

The Tigers “opened up a can” on the host Bearcats, jumping out to a quick 11-0 lead and they poured it on in the second half to win going away 53-33.

Senior guard Tyson Kessler was named MVP while 6-foot-7 senior Anthony Darge was a “beast” in the championship contest.

Darge put up “large” numbers in a dominating performance; nearly getting a triple-double with 14-points, nine-rebounds and 10-blocked shots.

It's been a long time since the Elverado Falcons won a boy's basketball tournament of any kind.

As it turns out, it was the Chester Invitational back in 2005.

They went 5-0 to win the Crab Orchard “Turkey” Tournament, beating Egyptian on the final afternoon, 57-36.

Aquntez Penn, the Falcons' top scorer, averaged 23.4 points a game in tournament to earn all-tournament status.

Teammate Sam Alstat also earned all-tournament honors for Elverado and head coach Jacob Emling.

The 5-0 start is the best in the program's history, according to head coach Jacob Emling who has done a great job in his short time at the school.

The Mulberry Grove Aces went 20-10 last season, its first 20+ win season in 23-years.

The Aces won four straight games to win their own Thanksgiving Tournament with a 56-46 win over conference rival St. Elmo/Brownstown.

Head coach Andrew Beckham's club posted wins over South Central, Mt. Olive and Patoka on the way to the crown.

Both 3A Highland and 4A Collinsville had unbeaten weeks in the ABV area.

The Bulldogs went 4-0 in capturing the Effingham St. Anthony Thanksgiving Tournament.

Coach Brian Perkes has a veteran group that went 22-9 last winter and they picked up where they left off a season ago with the tournament title.

Wins over Effingham, St. Anthony, Tolono Unity and Mattoon earn them the title.

Coach Darin Lee and his Kahoks rolled past five opponents at the Pyramid Plus Tournament at Herrin to capture the championship.

None of their contests were close as Collinsville won its five games by a combined 161-points.

All triumphs were by 30+ points.

Six-foot-one junior guard Ray'Sean Taylor averaged 20.1 points a game in the five victories for the unbeaten Kahoks.

Alton Marquette won it's third consecutive Metro-East Lutheran "Turkey Tip-Off" Tournament by taking care of the host Knights.

Coach Medford continues to do a great job for the Explorers' program.

They have dropped down to 2A this season and by the time the postseason arrives they will be a handful.

It was a pretty good start to the season with a lot of basketball yet to be played.