Today's high school basketball stars become tomorrow's NBA legends -- these days, sometimes literally overnight. And when you consider that your average seat at a professional basketball game runs about $50 (plus parking) and that the closest professional basketball team plays about four hours away (plus time to find parking), catching the 23rd Annual Shop 'N Save-KMOX St. Louis Shootout at the Savvis Center (Fourteenth at Clark streets) not only makes you financially savvy, it'll also make you privy to the country's finest young basketball talents long before others get a chance to see them. (In fact, collect as many autographs as you can and, in a few years, your ticket to the Shootout will probably wind up paying for itself.)
Even better, with the Shootout's full-day slate of games -- sixteen high school teams will face off over a period of about twelve hours -- it's like spending an entire day watching ESPN, live! As per tradition at the event, outstanding locals, such as the squads from Webster Groves and East St. Louis, match up against teams coming from as far as South Kent, Connecticut (who will play Shawn Livingston and Peoria Central, pictured) and Seagoville, Texas.
First tip-off of the day happens at 10:30 a.m.; the last is scheduled for 9 p.m. Tickets are $10 to $20; call 314-421-4100 or visit www.ticketmaster.com for more info. -- Rose Martelli
Here We Go Turn the Page
The opening of the Page Avenue Extension, officially designated "Rte. 364," (a very sexy choice if we do say so), is the greatest development for the westbound commuter since those beaded seat covers came into vogue. After 33 years of studies, meetings, public hearings and construction, this new Gateway to the West opens, allowing all those St. Charles/ St. Peters/O'Fallon-and-beyond residents an alternate route for hightailing it out of St. Louis County. The Missouri Department of Transportation celebrates this exodus from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today on both sides of the river. Park on Eastbound Page Avenue (from Route 94 to Upper Bottom Road) and then get on the bridge for cycling time trials, a "Play on Page" session (anyone can bike, skate, walk, jog, etc. across the new expanse), marching bands, speeches and general merriment. -- Paul Friswold