Like most of us, long checkout lines, gridlocked traffic jams and ugly sweaters are probably perched high atop your Christmas list of to-dos this time of the year.

Honestly, it wouldn't be the holiday season without these tried-and-true traditions. What's a warm and fuzzy Christmas morning without them?

The same can be said for the days after Christmas aka the holiday hangover. It's a time to decompress - and for those lucky enough to have some time off - go have some fun, return some white elephant gifts and relax until the wackiness of New Year's Eve.

If you're a high school hoops fan like me, there's only one way to unwind in late December. By taking in some holiday tournaments, of course. And this year, there are enough on the schedule to choke a Christmas goose.

The Fishers girls get things kicked off Dec. 26 as they travel to the Southwestern Tournament, a two-day event called the Rumble on the River. Scottsburg and Southwestern (Hanover) get things started with 14 games set to take place - seven on each day. The Class 4A No. 12 Tigers drew Austin on the first day with a 12:40 p.m. tip, if you bleed red.

Maybe you're looking for a hoops feast a little bit closer to home? Well, the Guerin Catholic girls host a four-team one-day tournament on Dec. 27. The list includes Indianapolis Broad Ripple vs. the host Golden Eagles at 9 a.m. followed by New Haven and Elkhart Central at 10:30 a.m. The consolation game is set for 6 p.m. and the championship game at 7:30 p.m.

The Westfield boys' basketball team heads west for the Shelbyville Tournament, another four-teamer in one-day format. The Shamrocks will take on host Shelbyville at 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 27 with Indianapolis Roncalli and East Central at noon. The championship game is at 7:30 p.m. and the consolation contest at 6 p.m.

A few days later at Vincennes Lincoln, the Class A University boys will participate in a grueling three-day marathon, which includes eight teams and 16 games. The McDonald's Hoops Hysteria Tournament runs a pool-play format before deciding first through seventh with all placement games on New Year's Eve. This one tips on Dec. 29.

The Hamilton Southeastern girls are in the North Central Tournament, a two-day event that begins on Dec. 29. The lineup pits New Albany against North Central at noon on the first day and HSE vs. Springboro (Ohio) at 2 p.m. The consolation and title games are on Dec. 30 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The red-hot Class 2A Sheridan girls stay at home for the holidays to host their own eight-team tournament from Dec. 29-30. The host Blackhawks open the tourney at 11 a.m. against Indiana Math & Science academy. All participants face either a consolation or a winner's bracket to decide first through seventh by day's end on Dec. 30.

North Central is also hosting a boys' tournament simultaneously with the girls where the 4A Fishers Tigers boys' basketball team will spend its winter break.

Drawing the host 4A No. 2 Panthers to open the four-team invite at 4 p.m. on Dec. 29, the Tigers will either play in the consolation game on Dec. 30 at noon or in the title game at 4 p.m.

The gem of this little stretch before Jan. 1, 2015 is the one here within Noblesville's city limits.

On Dec. 29, the Third Annual Noblesville Holiday Tournament begins with a fresh, new look. A four-team setup in years past and a round robin format last year, this winter the tournament has locked in eight teams and will showcase a true invitational layout.

The winners move on while the losers fall into an unforgiving consolation bracket. To make things more interesting, the top-ranked 3A Guerin Catholic Golden Eagles will be there along with 4A No. 16 Lawrence North.

Crown Point treks down I-65 southbound from the Region along with Chesterton to compete, and New Haven and Avon will bus in as well. The host Millers play at 2 p.m. against Chesterton while Guerin Catholic opens the first day against New Haven at 10 a.m.

A total of 12 games will be played in two days (for $10 per person for both days, by the way) with both the first-round and the semifinals games scheduled to take place on Dec. 29. The next day will feature five consolation and placement games before the championship finale at 7 p.m.

So whether or not you've been naughty or nice this year. Santa loves hoops regardless, and he's left a stocking full of games to choose from for you under the basket.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all ... have a good game!



Rich Torres is the sports editor of The Noblesville Times and Hamilton County Sports Daily. You can follow him on Twitter at @TheTimes_Sports or @RealRichTorres. He can be reached at rich@thetimes24-7.com.