Knights to Host First Thanksgiving Shootout

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The Metro-East Lutheran Knights are looking to start a new tradition this basketball season.

After 40 years of hosting the annual MELHS Turkey Tip-Off, the tournament will be reduced to a one-day shootout this Saturday. The only year there hasn’t been a whistleblower from Turkey in the past 41 years was in 2020 as COVID forced the season to be played in the spring.

“I’m extremely excited,” said MELHS Sporting Director Jason Batty. “As much as I love the Turkey Tip-Off, there was such an influx of Thanksgiving week tournaments that I felt like we needed something new and fresh. thought it was a good time to move on to a shootout.

The new MELHS Thanksgiving Shootout will feature three girls’ games and three boys’ games.

“We’re starting small,” Batty said. “I want to see how it goes. We thought about doing a two-day shootout, but I want to start small and build from there.

The change was made after Roxana’s first Hoopsgiving Classic last year took a quarter of the MELHS Turkey Tip-Off bracket.

Roxana, East Alton-Wood River, Marquette Catholic and Southwestern ended long affiliations with the Turkey Tip-Off to join the Hoopsgiving Classic.

Last season, the MELHS Turkey Tip-Off featured just eight teams and 16 games in total over four days, down from the 16 teams and 32 games over five days that were in the tournament in 2019.

The Shells Hoopsgiving Classic had been in the planning stages since before COVID. Roxana had told Batty in 2019 of her plans to host a Thanksgiving tournament.

In the future, Batty hopes this will evolve into a bigger event.

Batty drew inspiration for the shootout from a shootout in Indiana that the MELHS boys starred in. This shootout featured teams from Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and Missouri.

“My overall goal is to hopefully get other teams from other states to come and compete,” Batty said. “It’s just so we can see other schools and competitions that we don’t normally see.”

Schools participating in the Thanksgiving Shootout this year include Kirkwood, Waterloo, Mater Dei, Soldan, Cahokia, University City, Lovejoy and Lutheran North.

The MELHS boys will start Saturday’s slate of games at 11:30 a.m. against Kirkwood.

After the boys at 1 p.m. are the Waterloo and Mater Dei girls, and the Soldan and Cahokia girls at 2:30 p.m.

The MELHS girls play at University City at 4 p.m.

The Mater Dei and Lovejoy boys play at 5:30 p.m., with the MELHS and Lutheran North boys being the last match at 7 p.m.

“These games will be fun,” Batty said.

Admission is $8 for adults and $4 for students and seniors.

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