What’s the next best thing to Santa, all the food you can eat and everything else associated with Christmas?
The day after, of course.
Basketball fans can rejoice today when a number of high school holiday tournaments tip off across the state.
Here’s some of the matchups (and potential matchups) we’re keeping an eye on:
Velma Jackson (boys)
Today, 11 a.m., at NW Rankin
The best matchup at the Northwest Rankin Holiday Tournament might be the first one between the Pirates and Falcons today.
Fifth-ranked Velma Jackson rebounded nicely from a blowout loss to Madison Central earlier this season by winning six straight games, including Saturday’s 56-53 victory over No. 8 Raymond.
Pearl has been solid this year, but it lacks a win against a marquee opponent. Velma Jackson certainly fits that billing.
Today, 4:30 p.m., at Gulfport
The Golden Wave and Panthers aren’t exactly racking up wins at will, but both programs are capable of scoring points in bunches. Tupelo junior combo guard Antonio Green is among the best in his class, and Pascagoula has proven it can play with the state’s best on occasion this year: it beat St. Martin in its opener and fell 75-73 to No. 7 West Harrison more than a week ago.
St. Martin vs.
Madison Central (boys)
Today, 7:30 p.m., at Gulfport
The Yellow Jackets and Jaguars clash in the first round of the Gulfport Holiday Classic. St. Martin entered the season ranked third in The Clarion-Ledger’s preseason Super 10, one spot higher than Madison Central’s current ranking.
But four early losses, two of which came against the top two teams in the state (Gulfport and Callaway, respectively), pushed the Yellow Jackets out of the rankings. Today’s game will feature plenty of firepower, especially with Dandy Dozens Ed Simpson (St. Martin) and Xavian Stapleton (Madison Central) facing off.
Jim Hill vs. Lanier (boys)
Friday, 7 p.m., at Lanier*
The Tigers and Bulldogs have a chance to meet in the quarterfinals of the JPS/Pepsi Holiday Tournament with opening round wins against Warren Central and Germantown, respectively.
Neither Jim Hill nor Lanier have been overly dominant this season, in part because of the strength of their schedules. Regardless, whenever the two traditional powers cross paths, it’s sure to be worth the price of admission.
Today, 4 p.m., at Forest Hill
The Lady Rams and the Lady Tigers battle in the first round of the JPS-Pepsi Holiday tournament. It’s a rematch of last year’s Class 5A quarterfinals, which Canton won 61-50 to end Provine’s season.
Keep an eye on two of the state’s top guard’s in Provine’s Dandy Dozen Aja Williams (Cal State Bakersfield commit) and Canton’s Jamilah Sanders. Canton, the defending 5A state champs, is ranked No. 5 in the Super 10 and No. 1 in 5A.
Friday, 1 p.m.,
at Hartfield Academy
It’s one of eight MAIS vs. MHSAA matchups being held at the Hartfield Academy Holiday Invitational this weekend. The Lady Wolves (10-2), ranked No. 3 in Class 2A, are coming off a big Dec. 19 upset of Newton, ranked No. 1 in 2A.
The Lady Lions (16-1), ranked No. 1 in Academy A, are led by Maryanna Story.
Saturday, 10 a.m.,
The Lady Wildcats and Lady Arrows might meet in the semifinals of the JPS-Pepsi Holiday Tournament in a battle of Super 10 teams. Meridian, ranked No. 7, looks to get back in the tournament’s title game for the second straight year.
Keep an eye on Clinton point guard Harper Newell. The Lady Arrows, ranked No. 4, have been one of the most surprising teams this season.
Leake Aca. (girls)
Saturday, 4:30 p.m.,
at Simpson Aca.*
The Lady Patriots and Lady Rebels, two of the top teams in the MAIS, have a chance to meet in the second round of the Simpson Academy Holiday Tournament with wins over Columbia Academy and Hillcrest Christian, respectively.
MRA, ranked No. 1 in Academy AAA, is led by Amber Landing and Carmen Carter, while Leake Academy is led by Mary Grace Key and Anna Evans.
*denotes potential matchups; Chris Thomas and Brandon Shields contributed to this report.