TOWER HILL — While schools might not be holding winter sports due to newer COVID-19 mitigations, basketball fans can still get their fix.
Beginning Monday, Nov. 30, the Eye of the Tiger Sports Complex in Tower Hill is launching their own basketball league.
Groups participating are from throughout the region, from Mt. Zion to Vandalia, from Taylorville to Teutopolis.
“All are very good teams,” states Jim Dial, owner of the facility.
The teams are being called from the school they come from. However, the school districts have no participation in the league, according to Dial.
Not a stranger to threats from the state
Dial states that he has received threats from the State of Illinois regarding holding the league. Despite that, he is retaining the services of attorney Thomas DeVore of Sorento.
DeVore is known for his stance against Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker on the pandemic. DeVore is also the lead attorney in many lawsuits challenging the authority of the executive branch.
DeVore would send a letter to the state, stating that this was a private organization. Additionally, he would state that Illinois has no jurisdiction on the matter.
Both Dial and DeVore have yet to hear a return response from the state.
Specifics on the Eye of the Tiger basketball league
“It was going to be eight teams involved, but two more are begging to get in,” Dial says. “It will be held seven days a week, with JV and varsity teams participating.”
The league is likely to last one month, with a tournament to conclude the boys’ season. A similar league will take place in January for girls’ basketball with the same schools participating.
Dial adds that each team is choosing to participate. Each team has also signed a waiver. This is to ensure the facility is not held responsible for any COVID-19 cases contracted.
He would also add that it will also be up to spectators to drive to Tower Hill and watch the games.
The full schedule is yet to become official, but this is what we do know as of press time:
The facility is allowing eighth-graders to hold shootouts through the beginning of 2021. The times are from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The schools participating are St. Pat’s, Shelbyville, and Taylorville.
Central A&M and Macon Meridian will be kicking off league action on Tues., Dec. 1, beginning at 6 p.m. The JV teams will play in the first game, with the varsity teams to follow.
The Eye of the Tiger Sports Complex is located at 186 E. Dayton in Tower Hill. More information is available by contacting them on Facebook or by calling (217) 567-3042.
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Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network, wrestling editor and contributing writer for Ambush Sports, a contributing writer for My Sports Vote and Midwest Sports Network, and a former contributor to Bleacher Report and Overtime Heroics. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dog Buster.
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