The holiday tournament season gets underway next Wednesday, which leaves this weekend's slate of marquee matchups and showcase events a little light but certainly not void of intrigue.
Events in Arizona, Indiana, Maryland and Missouri along with a made-for-television matchup in Minnesota headline our look at what to watch this weekend:
Whitney Young at No. 16 Apple Valley (Thursday)
Storylines: After a loss last weekend at the Chicago Elite Classic, Whitney Young (Chicago) gets a shot at redemption in a nationally-televised (ESPN2) showdown with defending Minnesota Class AAAA state champ Apple Valley. The Jahlil Okafor-Tyus Jones relationship (both are headed to Duke) will undoubtedly be a focus of the broadcast but rankings implications will be heavy here as well.
Casey Benson and Corona del Sol will be in<br> action at Hoophall West after slipping into<br> the rankings this week.
Hoophall West – Phoenix, Ariz. (Friday-Saturday)
Storylines: Grand Canyon University will play host to this inaugural event, which will feature ranked teams in No. 3 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.), No. 15 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) and No. 21 Corona del Sol (Tempe, Ariz.) along with Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) and Yates (Houston). The Saturday slate is compelling with Mater Dei taking on Yates and Oak Hill Academy facing Bishop Gorman.
Ozark Mountain Shootout – Glendale, Mo. (Friday-Saturday)
Storylines: Nine games over two days will take place at Falcon Court in Glendale, but the one everybody will be waiting for goes down Saturday at 5:30 p.m. After winning its season opener by 32 points Tuesday, No. 20 Blue Valley Northwest (Overland Park, Kan.) will get a stiff early-season test from Kickapoo (Springfield) – a top five team in Missouri's largest classification.
National High School Hoops Festival – Hyattsville, Md. (Saturday)
Storylines: DeMatha (Hyattsville) will be in action on its home floor against a Milford Mill Academy (Baltimore) program on the rankings bubble, but No. 5 Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.) is the real headliner. The Panthers face a new-look Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) led by star junior guard Allonzo Trier. Our Savior New American (Centereach, N.Y.), led by 6-foot-9 junior forward Cheick Diallo, is another major attraction.
Forum Credit Union Tip Off Classic – Indianapolis (Saturday)
Storylines: Four teams included in this week's Indiana Basketball Coaches Association Poll (Top 20) will be in action Saturday at Southport High School. Columbus North and Greensburg are on the national rankings radar and both will have an opportunity to make a statement against a quality opponent. Columbus North – ranked No. 3 in the state by the IBCA – faces Indianapolis Cathedral while No. 4 Greensburg will battle super sophomore Eron Gordon and North Central (Indianapolis).