By Doug Gorman
Christmas carols, bright lights and parties aren't the only holiday traditions in the Southern Crescent.
High School basketball tournaments have been a Christmastime ritual for years, and the oldest, the Chuck Miller Classic, named in honor of the long-time Henry County High School coach and current athletic director, returns starting tonight.
Action tips off in the event starting with a girls game between Ola (0-5) and McIntosh (7-2) at 4 p.m.
Ola is looking for its first victory of the year.
The boys take center stage at 5:30 p.m as Ola (4-2) tries to get back on track with a game against Heritage (2-7).
Ola started the season winning four straight, but has dropped two in a row.
The Mustangs are coached by Curt Miller the son of Chuck Miller.
Curt Miller is a former Henry County basketball player.
At 7 p.m., the Henry County girls (4-1), winners of four straight games take on Morrow (3-4) in the first round of the tournament.
The final game of the night features Dutchtown (2-5), which tries to snap its losing streak when it takes on McIntosh (5-5) in an 8:30 p.m. contest.
The Chuck Miller Classic resumes with more first-round games on Saturday.
In girls action, Worth County takes on Eagle's Landing (4-2) at 4 p.m. and Jackson (5-1) plays against Dutchtown (7-1) at 7:30 p.m.
In the boys half of the tournament bracket, Eagle's Landing (3-3) takes on Worth County (2-2) at 5:30 and Henry County plays Jackson at 8:30.
The tournament resumes on Monday with winners and loser's bracket games. The finals are set for Tuesday.
The girls championship takes place at 7, and the boys game will played at 8:30. Consolation games will be held Tuesday as well.
Tournament games aren't the only basketball contest scheduled for tonight.
In a non-region boys game, Stockbridge plays host to Luella in a battle of two of the better teams from Henry County.
Stockbridge (8-1) lost to Luella (6-1) in the first game of the year, but has since rolled off eight wins in a row, including an 82-50 victory over Region 4-AAAA rival Dutchtown.
Luella comes into the contest riding a three-game winning streak.
The Lions' only loss this season came in a 68-59 set back to Stephenson.
The boys contest is set for 8:30.
The Luella-Stockbridge girls game starts the action at 7.
Among other games on the basketball slate tonight, Lovejoy entertains Chapel Hill in a Region 4-AAAAA contest.
Action begins at 6 p.m. with the girls game, followed by the boys at 7:30 p.m.
Also, tonight, Mundy's Mill is at home for a doubleheader against Westlake.
On Saturday, another holiday tournament begins as the Eagle's Landing Christian Academy as the Chargers hold their annual Hooptacular basketball tournament.
Among the local teams scheduled to compete in the tournament are ELCA, Union Grove, Forest Park boys andMundy's Mill.
Full details on the ELCA Hooptacular tournament will appear in the Saturday paper.