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SMITH COLUMN: Holiday hoops offer plenty of good action

December 18, 2011

There's nothing like holiday hoops action.
It just doesn't seem like Christmas until there's a high school basketball tournament to attend.
Whether it's the week prior to Christmas or the week between it and New Year's Day, prep teams like to take advantage of a schedule that allows it several games over a two or three day period.
Two such events concluded in the area on Saturday with the Joe Horne Christmas Classic in Columbus and the West Oktibbeha Christmas Shootout in Maben. For the hoops junkie, either site was a good place to be.
Both of those tournaments offered non-stop action that began early in the afternoon and lasted well into the evening on both Friday and Saturday.
There were officials who worked both tournaments. One individual called the East Oktibbeha-Aberdeen girls game in Maben on Friday, then he was in Columbus on Saturday to work a contest there.
Columbus basketball coach Sammy Smith always does a good job of getting some of the best in-state and out-of-state squads to his classic.
Sandwiched around the Starkville girls dropping a 45-42 decision to New Albany on Saturday afternoon, there was the opportunity to catch the Wingfield boys defeat Midfield 74-69, then the defending Class 6A State Champion Meridian boys knocked off Holt, Ala., 54-46. Also in the mid-afternoon, the Kemper boys won against Madison Central 71-58.
There were high-flying dunks, nifty 3-point shooting and quality defense being played between the lines at both gyms in Columbus and Maben.
Because of the quality of talent that participates in these kind of tournaments, anything can happen. The Starkville boys suffered their first loss of the season to Provine on Friday 80-78.
After Christmas, the Yellowjackets host a tournament of their own with the first Travis Outlaw Slam Dunk at the Hump. The schedule of boys games on the Mississippi State campus covers three days from Dec. 28-30.
Koscuisko and East Oktibbeha tip off the action on Dec. 28 at 3 p.m. and there will be four games played each day.
It will be interesting to see how high school teams react at Humphrey Coliseum and should help any that find itself at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson for the state tournament because both venues are similar.
If for some reason you didn't see holiday hoops in Columbus or Maben, don't miss the opportunity that Starkville and MSU presents in a couple of weeks.
It should be a pretty good show.

Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.

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