You've had your fill of Christmas goodness, but a few in-laws decided to stay a few more days.
What to do?
If you can't use shoveling as an excuse, here's my top 10 matchups for upcoming prep holiday tournaments to get you out of the house. A few of these games are dependent on how the teams do in first-round action.
Without further ado, my list of things for you to do:
No. 10: We'll start with girls' basketball and a possible match up between the Crosby-Ironton Rangers and Pierz Pioneers in the Pierz holiday tournament. Both teams have winnable first games with the 5-1 Rangers facing the 3-2 Long Prairie-Grey Eagle 6 p.m. Tuesday. At 8 p.m. the 2-4 Pioneers will battle 1-6 Holy Trinity.
The championship game will be 8 p.m. Wednesday in Pierz.
No. 9: We'll stick with girls hoops and another possible matchup in the championship game of the Aitkin Quarterback Club holiday tournament. In the first round of this four-team tournament, the Aitkin Gobblers should get past 1-6 Mesabi East. That game is 7 p.m. Monday. The game before pits 4-1 McGregor and the 5-1 Moose Lake-Willow River Rebels.
I'll give the nod to the Rebels creating a ML-WR vs. Aitkin championship game 7 p.m. Tuesday in Aitkin.
This would be a rematch of a Dec. 8 game which Aitkin won 39-36 in Aitkin.
No. 8: There is relief for those not interested in prep basketball and hockey. At 10 a.m. Thursday, the Warrior boys' and girls' Nordic ski teams will host the Brainerd pursuit at Northland Arboretum. The event will feature a classic portion followed by the freestyle. After the classic, skiers will race into the staging area, switch equipment and race out to complete the freestyle portion.
No. 7: Last season, the Northern Lakes Lightning started out the boys' hockey season 10-0 and were on their way to winning their holiday tournament, until Red Lake Falls handed them a 3-1 defeat.
Those two teams will match up in the third and final game of the four-team, three-day tournament 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Breezy Point Arena.
The Eagles of Red Lake Falls are 3-3 with wins over Bagley/Fosston, Wahpeton and Wadena-Deer Creek and losses to Fort Frances, Crookston and Kittson Central.
The Lightning are 4-3, but have won four of their last five games.
No. 6: This is another possible matchup, but a likely one. The Pine River-Backus Tigers and Class 1A's third-ranked Parkers Prairie 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the second round of the Walker holiday girls' basketball tournament.
The 6-1 Tigers suffered their first defeat Dec. 22 against C-I. They open the tournament against 1-6 Frazee.
The 4-0 Panthers are averaging 74.8 points per game, while holding opponents to 29.3 points. The main reason is 5-foot-10 senior guard Sari Noga, who is headed to the University of Minnesota next season.
The winner should win the tournament. The loser will likely finish third.
No. 5: The Brainerd Warriors boys' swimming and diving team will host Bemidji, Monticello, Perham and Melrose/Sauk Centre in the Brainerd Invite 11 a.m. Tuesday.
Perham finished 13th in last year's Class 1A state tournament, while Monticello placed 15th and Melrose finished 24th.
Monticello's 200-yard medley relay team placed 10th and featured Erick Topp, who was then a freshman, Paul Fair as an eighth grader and Nathan Lemke, who was a junior last year. Scott Albares, a senior this year, placed 12th in the 100 freestyle followed by Topp in 16th place.
In the Class 2A state meet last year, Brainerd placed seventh and Bemidji ninth.
Bemidji's Matt Wilcox finished 11th in the 200 individual medley and 14th in the 100 free. Junior Dylan Hoven finished 10th in the 50 free last season.
No. 4: Here's another possible matchup in girls' basketball, but one of these will happen. The Pequot Lakes Patriots vs. either East Grand Forks or Hawley in the final round of the Crookston tournament.
Pequot opens with 3-3 Crookston, who withstood Pequot's upset bid in the Section 8-2A final in 2008. This won't be the same Pirate team, however, and the 7-1 Patriots have a good shot of improving to 8-1.
That would put them in the championship game against Either East Grand, who is 5-1 and handed Pequot its only loss Dec. 12 (70-60 in East Grand Forks) or 6-0 Hawley. The Nuggets picked up a big 56-52 win at Perham Dec. 18.
East Grand is led by 6-2 senior Kate Warmack and 5-9 junior Chelsey Frydenlund.
Hawley has a pair of quality guards in Jessy Noreen and Laure Olson.
No. 3: I fear this matchup will need help happening. The Little Falls Flyers vs. the Pequot Lakes Patriots in either the championship or the third-place game of the Pine Country Bank Holiday Classic 5 p.m. or 7 p.m. at the Little Falls High School.
Class 3A's eighth-ranked Flyers must get by Class 4A's seventh-ranked Robbinsdale Cooper in the first round (For more info see No. 1) while the Patriots will battle Badger/Greenbush/Middle River 6 p.m. Tuesday.
After a tough start, the Patriots are coming off two blowout victories against Aitkin (78-40) and Walker-Hackensack-Akeley (82-30). The Gators of B/G-MR are 3-4 with back-to-back losses to Kittson County Central and Red Lake County.
My pick is Pequot, but can the 6-0 Flyers remain unbeaten against Cooper?
No. 2: While any of the six games in the Ranger holiday classic would be worth back spasms from shoveling all the snow, tournament directors saved the best for last. At 2:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Ranger gym, Class 1A's third-ranked Minnesota Transitions will face Class 2A's third-ranked C-I Rangers.
C-I enters the tournament 5-0. Minnesota Transitions will be 4-0 entering Monday's first round.
The Wolves average 90.3 points per game with most of those coming from Boston College recruit Kevin Noreen. The senior forward should become the all-time leading scorer in Minnesota boys' basketball history as he needed 600 to break Cody Shilling's 3.428 career points record. Last season Noreen averaged 32.8 points, 14.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game.
Minnesota Transitions has defeated Class 3A's Minneapolis Henry 85-83 in overtime and Class 4A's Park Center 71-51.
The other two teams in the tournament, the Kelvin Clippers are a Canadian team with a 5-3 record and Mesabi East with a 4-1 mark.
No. 1: The Little Falls Flyers open the Pine County Bank Holiday Classic against Robbinsdale Cooper 8 p.m. Tuesday. Class 4A's seventh-ranked Hawks are 4-0 and just missed last year's state tournament by falling to Osseo in the Section 5-4A final.
The Hawks have 6-7 senior forward Calvin Godfrey, a transfer from Milwaukee and 6-3 junior guard Marquel Curtis to do battle with the Flyers 6-8 senior Dan Kornbaum and point guard Alex Scott.
The Hawks own wins over preseason No. 2 Minnetonka, Wayzata, Class 4A's 10th-ranked Henry Sibley and Robbinsdale Armstrong.
jeremy millsop, sports writer, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5856.
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