MATTOON — The Mattoon girls' basketball team is going into its own tournament on the heels of one of its best starts in the history of its program. Sullivan dealt with some recent bad news and is hoping to get some good news before the start of Mattoon's tournament on Tuesday.
Either way, both teams are ready for a competitive Mattoon Holiday Tournament, which also includes Galesburg, the defending champions are ranked No. 9 in Class 3A, Salem, the defending runner-ups, MacArthur, Olney, Effingham St. Anthony and Vandalia.
"I think it's a very competitive tournament," Mattoon coach Amanda Aydt said. "There are a lot of great teams in the tournament, so there are a lot of good games and good basketball."
Sullivan will be playing up in class to a lot of competition, which is what coach Sheri McCain likes about it.
"It's one of the better tournaments in the area because of the teams in it," McCain said. "For us, it's a very good step up competition-wise because we are always playing up in the tournament. We use this to prepare us for the rest of the season and for the postseason."
Mattoon comes in with a 13-0 record, which ties its best start since the 1987-88 season. So the Wave should be one of the favorites to reach the title game. Not so fast.
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"We are looking to get better every day and looking to get better game by game," Aydt said. "I am proud of the girls and the way they are playing right now. They are playing together as a team and playing well on both sides of the floor offensively and defensively. I always tell the girls to play hard and have fun."
Sullivan goes into the tournament with a 4-5 record after falling to Mattoon on Monday. Sullivan was dealt a bit of bad news recently. Even though Addison Darush hasn't officially be declared out for the season, McCain is not counting on her return.
But McCain said Brooke Tuttle could be cleared to play on Friday, making her available for the tournament.
Even with losing Darush, McCain is looking for her team to be competitive at the tournament.
"Last year I don't think we started our pool competitively. We open with Galesburg and they will give us a lot of good competition," McCain said. "I think we can be competitive with Salem and MacArthur and we can compete with Galesburg, we just have to play our best. I just hope the girls continue playing the way we've been playing lately with good defense and playing together. That will help us if we do that."