The four days after Christmas are filled with games from Holiday Tournaments. As I've mentioned before, these games can give us a great deal of information with regards to how the leagues match up with each other and makes it a great deal easier to rank the teams in each class. There are over 50 games in boys and girls basketball in these four days so let's see which are the ones to watch.
LaSalle v Shaker, Schenectady v Columbia: These are the only two games currently on the schedule (as we don't always know the second game matchups due to the winners of the first not yet being established) between the Big 10 and Suburban. Shaker may be the only one here with playoff aspirations, but sometimes comparing the middle of the pack in each league is just as useful as the teams at the top. If we see a decided victory, or better than expected showing by either league we may be able to give one of the leagues an early advantage.
Newburgh Free v Scotia: This is less helpful from a Sectional standpoint than a State standpoint. Newburgh is a AA school and usually a pretty good one so if Scotia can hang with them or even win, that says a lot about their chances if they make it to March's State Tournament.
Ichabod Crane v Greenwich, Stillwater v Saratoga Catholic: This will only be one data point for the Wasaren against each of the Colonial and WAC, but both should be valuable. Greenwich and Stillwater are probably the 3rd and 4th best in the Wasaren in either order. Ichabod is mid pack in the Colonial so the later meeting between Hoosick Falls and Greenwich should give a good feel for Hoosick Falls' "place" in the B bracket with all the Colonial teams. Saratoga Catholic is the best team in their division in the WAC, and this game can help solidify the standing in the C bracket and validate their earlier win over Schuylerville.
Heatly v Cohoes, Mechanicville v Heatly, Galway v Doane Stuart: The CHVL is usually the weakest league in the section and I don't anticipate Heatly to compete in these games but all three are good data points for the CHVL.
Hudson Falls v Corinth: Hudson Falls is coming off a 20 point loss to Hoosic Valley and averaged 30 point losses in their two contests. Corinth plays Lake George twice, one already in the books as a 20 point loss. It's not a direct common opponent, but may tell us something depending on how it turns out.
Ravena v Albany Leadership, Scotia v Holy Names, Hoosic Valley v Ichabod Crane: Ravena is a pretty solid B school and though they probably aren't on anybody's top contenders list it's a good match up to see how competitive Albany Leadership may be in Sectinoals. Holy Names, gets a good look at another solid A squad. While the A bracket may ultimately come down to Troy and Averill Park, Holy Names can make themselves it a 1a, 1b, 1c situation if they can convincingly take down Scotia. Hoosic Valley currently has as many losses as they had in the entire regular season last year and a lackluster performance against Ichabod could add another. On the other hand, a solid victory here, tells us a little bit more about where Tamarac sits in the B field, whether alone at the top or side by side with Watervliet.
Catholic Central v Colonie, Tamarac v Johnstown, Berne-Knox v Maple Hill: All three of these games a year ago would have been the top of my list of must see. This year however, the importance just isn't there. Colonie is having a down year and a loss of any margin probably won't tell us much. While I think Johnstown is a solid B, unless they completely over perform expectations, there won't be much to talk about. Much like Colonie, Berne-Knox just isn't the same team this year and while Maple Hill may be near the top of the C, if they beat a mediocre C, regardless of league, it's just not that much help.
The girls are a little different than the boys in that the top teams in each class are usually a large margin better than the middle teams. They just aren't as competitive on average from top to bottom as the boys so the information isn't useful.
Either way, enjoy the games if you can, I'm sure I won't have the opportunity. But I'll be watching the scoreboard, no doubt.