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Teamwork creates super hoops tournament

Lakes’ Direll Clark figures be area’s top running back this fall he’ll be going up against Grayslake North Friday night.

Lakes’ Direll Clark figures to be the area’s top running back this fall, and he’ll be going up against Grayslake North on Friday night. He’s shown here running away from Batavia defenders during the playoffs last fall. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media

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NOVEMBER 19, 20, 21, 23 & 24 (Thanksgiving Week)

Pool play first three days with doubleheaders at both sites

On Friday, matchups will be No. 1 from Mundelein vs. No. 2 from Warren; No. 1 from Warren vs. No. 2 from Mundelein; No. 3 from Mundelein vs. No. 4 from Warren; No. 3 from Warren vs. No. 4 from Mundelein at sites TBA.

On Saturday, the two No. 1s will play; the two No. 2s will play; the two No. 3s will play; the two No. 4s will play at sites TBA.

Winner of game between two No. 1s will receive the big trophy.

Updated: September 23, 2012 6:08AM

In the end, it was all about working together for the common good.

And so, props go out to Warren High School athletic director Mark Pos and his counterpart at Mundelein — Perry Wilhelm — for putting together what figures to be a tremendous opening/Thanksgiving week for area high school basketball fans.

In past years, Mundelein has hosted a season-opening tournament. Meanwhile, Waukegan, North Chicago, Warren and Lake Forest Academy played in their own event that rotated sites each November (this year, it’s Warren’s turn to host).

Last month, North Chicago coach King Coleman expressed interest in his powerful Warhawks playing five games during Thanksgiving week rather than the usual three they would get playing in the Warren tourney.

That triggered a series of events and discussions that have resulted in Mundelein and Warren combining their tournaments, with each team now playing five games (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday of Thanksgiving week).

In the process, the games fans want to see — Warren/Waukegan, Warren/North Chicago and Waukegan/North Chicago — were preserved.

That is called a win-win-win.

Area hoops fans win because they get to see the games and teams they want to see.

The players win because they get to play five games, with a championship game to boot at the end of the week.

And North Chicago fans win because they will have five chances to see Showtime — a Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday at Warren and a Friday/Saturday at Mundelein — without having to take out a payday loan to pay for gasoline to follow what likely will be the state’s most entertaining team this winter.

There is no downside here.

The breakdown is like this:

■ There will be two four-team pools, with pool-play doubleheaders on the Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday at Mundelein and Warren.

■ Mundelein’s pool is the host Mustangs, Lakes — a team that could beat North Chicago this season — powerful Barrington, and Uplift from the Chicago Public League.

■ Warren’s pool remains the same with Waukegan, Warren, North Chicago and Lake Forest Academy.

After three days of play, the teams will regrouped, with the top two teams in each pool playing against each other and the bottom two teams in each pool doing the same.

Eventually, the final game will match the two pool cham pions on Saturday night to play for the big trophy.

So, what you now have is an eight-team tournament featuring Warren, Waukegan, North Chicago, Mundelein and Lakes — five of Lake County’s best teams — plus Barrington, which is going to be very good; Chicago Uplift, which won a regional last year; and Lake Forest Academy, a private school’s that’s always a dangerous floater in these kinds of events.

It gets no better than this.

So, keep Monday, Nov. 19, circled on your calendar. That’s opening day of hoops season 2012-2013.

And a tip of the cap to the ADs at Mundelein and Warren for making it happen.

Olympic-size thoughts

Two things about the Olympics — Summer Games, that is.

1) Funny how the decathlon has fallen out of favor as a marquee event.

Thought about that because Bruce Jenner became Wheaties box-cover famous for winning the Olympic gold in the 10-event decathlon in 1976.

Now, athletes are soaring past Jenner’s point total in the sport, but without any kind of fanfare at all.

The reason has to be that decathletes aren’t competing against each other but against the clock/height/distance. There’s no head-to-head competition.

A decathlon champ can be that without winning a single one of the 10 events, and that doesn’t make for great drama or great TV.

2) If you watch the tape of the 1972 gold-medal basketball game in which the Russians beat Team USA, you can see that the Soviets actually deserved the victory.

Granted, it took three tries at a length-of-the-court pass to complete one and scored the game-winner at the buzzer.

But it sure looks like the three tries were legit. The first unsuccessful effort was erased by a called timeout that wasn’t recognized quickly enough.

The second unsuccessful effort was nullified by an inadvertent blowing of the horn.

The third try, of course, resulted in the game-winning bucket.

Imagine, now, if the second long pass had produced a basket, only to be erased by the inadvertent horn. It would have been the Soviets who would have protested.

In any case, the reality is that Team USA played poorly enough that day to put themselves in position where a fluky bucket at the end would beat them.

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