By Derrick Mahone
The final exams are over. School is out.
Now, the holiday tournaments can officially begin for Southern Crescent basketball teams.
Some will travel during the holiday tournament season to Ohio, Mississippi and Puerto Rico. Locally, Henry County and Woodland will host pre-Christmas tournaments.
Forest Park girls will play in tournaments in Mississippi and Ohio while Jonesboro boys has the most interesting travel itinerary. The 10th-ranked Cardinals will make the trek to Puerto Rico to play in a tournament with three other U.S.A team starting Saturday.
One of the area's oldest tournaments, the Chuck Miller Classic (formerly the Warhawk Classic) will tip-off today at Henry County High. The 16-team field will feature both boys and girls games.
An unique twist this season will be when the Ola boys take on Jackson Saturday at 8:30 p.m. in their first game. Former longtime Henry County coach and athletics director Chuck Miller will be on the Ola sideline as an assistant to his son, Curt. The tournament was named in his honor last season.
Henry County boys and Dutchtown girls are the defending tournament champions.
"There are still some high expectations for this team," said first-year Dutchtown coach April Tate.
Woodland will host an eight-team, three-day tournament starting Saturday at 3 p.m. One of the best matchups will be Saturday's Mundy's Mill vs. Woodland girls' game. Woodland is 8-1 after Monday's loss to Heritage, while Mundy's Mill has won four straight since dropping its opener at No. 10 North Clayton earlier this month.
Considered a contender for the Class AAAA title, Forest Park will be well-traveled over the holiday break with games in Mississippi and Ohio. The players say they are looking forward to the challenge of representing the state.
"It should be a lot of fun," Lady Panthers guard Ashlee Cole said. "It is always good playing against different teams."
There are a handful of regular season games tonight involving area teams. Sandy Creek plays at Eagle's Landing while Locust Grove takes on Ola and Eagle's Landing Christian plays at Starr's Mill.
Chuck Miller Holiday Classic
When: Today through Tuesday
Where: Henry County High School
Admission: $8; tournament passes are available
Schedule: Today, girls - Heritage vs. Morrow, 4 p.m.; Dutchtown vs. Newton, 7 p.m. Boys - Heritage vs. Morrow, 5:30 p.m.; Dutchtown vs. Henry County, 8:30 a.m. Saturday, girls - Jackson vs. Eagle's Landing, 4 p.m.; Ola vs. Henry County, 7 p.m. Boys -Eagle's Landing vs. Central Macon, 5:30 p.m.; Jackson vs. Ola, 8:30 p.m.