‘Tis the season for holiday tournaments-Review Area Sports

North High senior point guard Termaine Daniels (2) hustles to bring the ball up court during home action against South St. Paul. The Polars won 75-36 Dec. 15. (Linda Baumeister/Review)
North High senior point guard Termaine Daniels (2) hustles to bring the ball up court during home action against South St. Paul. The Polars won 75-36 Dec. 15. (Linda Baumeister/Review)

For many, the week between Christmas and New Year's Day means returning to work, returning unwanted gifts or maybe returning to that diet that got away from them for a few days around the winter holidays.

That same stretch of days means a return to competition for many high school sports teams.

Most of those teams are playing in holiday tournaments that week. Here's a rundown of what Review-area prep squads are in action over the holiday break.

Boys basketball

Hill-Murray and Tartan have boys basketball tournaments on the schedule starting Dec. 28.

• The Pioneers are headed to St. Paul to play in the Catholic Spirit Tournament at the University of St. Thomas. Hill-Murray plays Dec. 28 at 6 p.m. against St. Thomas Academy while the other first-round game pits Cretin-Derham Hall against Park Center at 8 p.m.

The first-day winners face off for the championship at 8 p.m. Dec. 29, while the two losing teams play for third place at 6 p.m.

• Tartan is hosting its own tournament on Dec. 28-30. First-round match-ups have Lakeville South and Chisago Lakes playing at 2:45 p.m., Forest Lake and Glencoe-Silver Lake squaring off at 4:30, Centennial facing Carmel out of Mundelein, Ill., at 6:15 and the host Titans and Spring Lake Park closing out the day with a game at 8 p.m.

The eight-team, bracket-format tournament continues with games at the same times the next two days.

• North has the week off after playing in a four-team event at Hamline University on Dec. 21-22, past the deadline for this edition of the Review. The Polars played St. Paul Academy on the first day and Breck on day two.

Next up for the Polars is a non-conference home game against Eagan on Saturday, Jan. 2.

Girls basketball

Hill-Murray has the shortest commute, Tartan the longest and North in between for their respective girls basketball tournaments.

• Hill-Murray is once again hosting an eight-team tournament that runs Dec. 28-30. Game times are 3, 4:45, 6:30 and 8:15 p.m. on day one, and an hour earlier for days two and three.

Wayzata won the tournament last year and is back to defend its crown. The Trojans play Forest Lake in the first round, which also includes Park-Cottage Grove versus Henry Sibley, Cretin-Derham Hall taking on Mahtomedi and Mounds View facing the Pioneers.

• North is taking another shot at the Irondale Holiday Tournament after finishing second the past two seasons. The Polars fell to the host Knights in the final last year and to St. Francis in 2014.

North plays Irondale in the second semifinal on Dec. 29 at 5:45 p.m. and will face either St. Francis or Duluth East in the second round on Dec. 30.

• Tartan is headed to Northfield to play in the St. Olaf Holiday Hoops Classic for the second straight year. The Titans went 1-2 in last year's tournament with a win over Mayer Lutheran and losses to Providence Academy and New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva.

Tartan gets a shot at redemption twice in the tournament. The Titans get rematches with Providence Academy on Dec. 28 at 3:15 and with NRHEG on Dec. 30 at 11:45. In between, Tartan faces Eagan on Dec. 29 at 3:15 p.m.

The other teams in the 10-team field are Mayer Lutheran, Northfield, Prior Lake, Orono, Eastview and defending Class AAAA state champion Hopkins. All games are played at St. Olaf's Skoglund Center.

Boys hockey

Hill-Murray is the only Review-area boys hockey team playing in a holiday tournament this year.

• The Pioneers are once again entered in the Gold Division of the Schwan Cup at Ridder Arena at the University of Minnesota.

Hill-Murray is looking for its first cup championship since beating St. Thomas Academy in a shootout in the finals in 2012.

The Pioneers open the tournament on Dec. 28 with a noon game against sixth-ranked Wayzata. This will be the second meeting of the year between the two teams, which played Dec. 5 at Aldrich Arena. The Trojans won that match-up 2-0.

Hill-Murray plays either second-ranked Eden Prairie or 20th-ranked Burnsville in the second round.

The championship game on Dec. 30 is scheduled for 8 p.m. at Ridder, while the other three finals take place at the Super Rink in Blaine.

The bottom half of the bracket features 14th-ranked Minnetonka, 15th-ranked Centennial, 18th-ranked St. Thomas Academy and fifth-ranked Edina.

• North and Tartan are foregoing tournaments this year.

North, which played in the South St. Paul Premier Tournament for a number of years, is instead playing a single non-conference game. The Polars visit Armstrong/Cooper on Dec. 29 at 7 p.m.

Tartan hasn't played in a holiday tournament in more than 10 years and this year is no different. The Titans' only game over the break is a home non-conference tilt against Irondale at 3 p.m. Jan. 2.

Girls hockey

North/Tartan and Hill-Murray are both staying in the metro for their holiday tournaments.

• North/Tartan is playing in a tournament hosted by Spring Lake Park/Coon Rapids and played at the Coon Rapid Ice Center. North by itself played in this event last year, while Tartan played at a tournament in Burnsville.

North/Tartan opens the tournament Dec. 28 at noon against Cambridge-Isanti/Mora/Pine City.

On Dec. 29, North/Tartan faces either Duluth or North Metro on the outdoor ice sheet at Coon Rapids.

The fifth and seventh-place games on Dec. 30 will also be played outdoors while the third-place and championship games move back indoors.

The rest of the tournament field features Cloquet/Esko/Carlton, International Falls, Rogers and Spring Lake Park/Coon Rapids.

• Hill-Murray is looking for its second championship in the last three years at the Kaposia Classic at Doug Woog Arena in South St. Paul. The two-time defending Class AA state champion won the Kaposia title in 2013 but finished third last year.

The Pioneers open the tournament on Dec. 31 at 3 p.m. against Jefferson/Kennedy. Day two on Jan. 1 will have Hill-Murray playing either Mounds View, which is ranked 15th in Class AA, or Blake, which is ranked No. 1 in Class A and beat the Pioneers in the semifinals last year.

The lower half of the tournament bracket includes 13th-ranked Elk River/Zimmerman, Roseville, 19th-ranked (Class A) Hibbing/Chisholm and 14th-ranked (Class A) South St. Paul.
Day three of the tournament will be Jan. 2 with games at 1, 3, 5 and 7 p.m.

Wrestling, boys swimming and diving

While basketball and hockey dominate the holiday-break high school sports scene, there's usually a few wrestling events sprinkled in.

• One of them takes place at North High School. The Polars are bringing in five other teams for a Dec. 31 event that starts at 9:30 a.m. North brings in Cretin-Derham Hall, Hopkins, Minneapolis Edison, St. Croix Lutheran and St. Paul Johnson for the six-team event.

• Tartan is also in action during the break as it hosts a multi-team event on Jan. 2. Among the teams competing are Cretin-Derham Hall, Irondale, Plainview/Elgin-Millville, Princeton, St. Paul Johnson and Henry Sibley.

• Tartan's boys swimming and diving team also has an event on Jan. 2. The Titans head to the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center for the Maroon and Gold Invitational.

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com or 651-748-7819. Follow him on Twitter @BMeyersNews.

If you go...

Schwan Cup - Gold Division (boys hockey)
Site: Ridder Arena, U of M campus
Dates: Dec. 28-30
Participating teams: Hill-Murray, Wayzata, Eden Prairie, Burnsville, Minnetonka, Centennial, St. Thomas Academy and Edina.

Kaposia Classic (girls hockey)
Site: Doug Woog Arena, South St. Paul
Dates: Dec. 31-Jan. 2
Participating teams: Mounds View, Blake, Hill-Murray, Jefferson/Kennedy, Elk River/Zimmerman, Roseville, Hibbing/Chisholm and South St. Paul

Catholic Spirit Tournament (boys basketball)
Site: University of St. Thomas, St. Paul
Dates: Dec. 28-29
Participating teams: St. Thomas Academy, Hill-Murray, Cretin-Derham Hall and Park Center

Tartan Tournament (boys basketball)
Site: Tartan High School
Dates: Dec. 28-30
Participating teams: Lakeville South, Chisago Lakes, Carmel (Ill.), Centennial, Forest Lake, Glencoe-Silver Lake, Spring Lake Park and Tartan

Spring Lake Park/Coon Rapids Tournament (girls hockey)
Site: Coon Rapids Ice Center
Dates: Dec. 28-30
Participating teams: North/Tartan, Cambridge-Isanti/Mora/Pine City, Duluth, North Metro, Cloquet/Esko/Carlton, International Falls, Rogers and Spring Lake Park/Coon Rapids

Hill-Murray Holiday Tournament (girls basketball)
Site: Hill-Murray School
Dates: Dec. 28-30
Participating teams: Park-Cottage Grove, Henry Sibley, Cretin-Derham Hall, Mahtomedi, Wayzata, Forest Lake, Mounds View and Hill-Murray

Irondale Holiday Tournament (girls basketball)
Site: Irondale High School, New Brighton
Dates: Dec. 29-30
Participating teams: St. Francis, Duluth East, Irondale and North

St. Olaf Holiday Hoops Classic (girls basketball)
Site: St. Olaf College, Northfield
Dates: Dec. 28-30
Participating teams: Mayer Lutheran, New Richland-Hartland-Ellendale-Geneva, Providence Academy, Tartan, Northfield, Eagan, Prior Lake, Eastview, Orono and Hopkins

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