In our boys basketball preview section this season, I wrote about the Little Ten Conference reaching an outstanding and historic milestone. The league, which was organized prior to the 1919-1920 school year, will hold its 100th boys basketball tournament — the oldest continuous conference tournament in the state of Illinois — starting Jan. 28 and running through championship night on February 1.
Just after the Thanksgiving holiday, I received an email asking my thoughts of what the conference could do to help celebrate its special week of hoops, and over the past few weeks, many ideas have been discussed and finalized by LTC school officials and conference secretary Greg Burks. I thought I'd take this opportunity to pass along what fans and followers will be able to see and do at Somonauk High School the week of the tournament.
Like in the past number of years, former players (both boys and girls) who participated in the loop's get together will be asked to sign a sheet listing their name, school and years played. There may also be a spot on the sheet to list any tournament title(s) won while playing for their alma mater. During timeouts and intermissions, the names and accomplishments will be read over the PA so that those alumni can be recognized.
Burks said it is also his hope to have some of the oldest former conference players in attendance the final night to award the Al Stegman Championship Trophy to the winning team.
During each game played in the main gymnasium, Resource Bank will be sponsoring a "Shoot for the Loot" competition. General fans and former players will be able to purchase tickets ($1 each), with each category being chosen for a chance to win money for sinking a shot from half court at halftime. I'm told the prize will be increased for the final night of the event on Friday.
There will be a vendor on hand each night that will be selling special commemorative T-shirts and sweatshirts. Burks told me he hopes to know the cost of these in the next week for each item, and I will make sure any updates on that are included in my column next week. He told me the apparel will feature a very cool emblem, including the conference logo, on the front and the schools and their years of participation in the tournament, plus 100th Little Ten Conference Tournament on the back.
I've seen a few mock designs already, and it looks to be a really nice keepsake for sure. Burks also mentioned to me that some of the schools may be using the shirts for their pregame warm-up tops.
For those history buffs or anyone who has followed the conference and its annual tournament, there will also be a pop-up museum the final two nights of the tournament. Burks said each former and current conference school was asked to bring any memorabilia surrounding their school's involvement in the tournament, and those items will be on display. He said that anyone who has anything (programs, newspaper clippings, photos, etc.) that they feel they would like or should be included in the museum should contact their school.
There may more activities included for the week's celebration, and I'll keep you all up to date as the start of the tournament grows closer.
The seeds and bracket will be released late next week, and it should be another fun and memorable week of basketball for a tournament that will celebrate a century of play.