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Tuesday May 5th, 2015 6:26AM

Holiday hoops tournaments heat up today, set the table for 2013

By staff
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Beginning today in gyms around the state, the holiday break is officially over.

Teams from around the area will climb out from underneath piles of wrapping paper and sweat off those Christmas dinners knowing that the meat of the 2012-13 season schedule is about to get underway.

The list of holiday tournaments is long and distinguished and includes one competition set to tip off in Gainesville.

The Big Red Shootout will tip off at 10 a.m. at Gainesville High School and feature 16 teams (eight boys and eight girls), including the host programs, both Johnson teams, both Franklin County programs and the Jackson County girls -- along with both Chattahoochee and Parkview teams, the Collins Hill, Dunwoody and Douglass boys, and the Cambridge and Dacula girls.

The tournament will honor former Gainesville High principal Chris Mance, who passed away in April after a battle with esophageal cancer.

Play will take place over three days (Thursday-Saturday) and will provide three games each for the teams taking part -- a pattern followed throughout many of the holiday tournaments.

Certainly the Johnson and Gainesville boys will be eager to get back on the court after impressing but ultimately coming up short in the 53rd Lanierland Tournament held last week -- the Knights finishing second and the Red Elephants third.

The teams that won Lanierland will certainly be busy, as the North Hall boys will join the Lady Trojans in competing in the WCON Christmas Classic at Habersham Central High School in Mt. Airy. The Trojans are coming off their second Lanierland crown in four seasons and join Habersham Central and Banks County in the tournament.

Fresh off their first Lanierland title, the Chestatee girls, already 11-1, will travel to the Allatoona Christmas Tournament in Acworth. The Chestatee boys, meanwhile, will compete in the Lafayette Christmas Tournament.

Two area teams will travel out of state this week, as the East Hall boys head to Kissimmee, Fla., to compete in the Great Florida Shootout, while Buford's boys will trek to Spartanburg, S.C., for the Upward Classic.

The Lady Wolves, meanwhile, will take part in the Peachstate Holiday Tournament at Holy Innocents in Atlanta. Down the road, both Lumpkin County teams will do battle in the Westminster Holiday Classic, also in Atlanta.

A number of other northeast Georgia teams will compete in tournaments such as the Battle of the States Tournament in Hiawassee, Pickens County Christmas Tournament, McDonald's Classic at Hart County High and the Franklin Christmas Tournament.

The competitions will pave the road into 2013 and the heart of the region schedules that will set up February's region tournaments.
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