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Holiday hoops: Expect another great 'season' of basketball

Fleming Fieldhouse will host three days of holiday hoops this weekend. (Tony Mullen/KRCG13)

JEFFERSON CITY --- When you're stuffed with turkey and ham leftovers, you're stuffed with all the leftover trimmings, and you've had your fill of desserts, presents and even family, here's your chance for something completely different.

Getting stuffed on basketball.

The Capital City's annual, bountiful buffet of holiday basketball goodness will tip at 2:30 p.m. Thursday with the opening game of the girls State Farm Invitational at Rackers Fieldhouse --- Jefferson City vs. Quincy, Ill. --- and will conclude with the championship games of both the State Farm and the boys Joe Machens Great 8 Classic at Fleming Fieldhouse at around 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

To put it another way, 24 games in 54 hours. Or, based on 80-minute games, roughly 34 hours of basketball in 54 hours.

That would be getting stuffed. But even more than quantity, these tournaments are about quality.

"You've got good teams all the way through," Lady Crusaders coach Alan Lepper said of the girls event at Helias. "There's not an easy team on either side of the bracket."

Both tournaments are all quality both on and off the court.

"When you're a coach and you just show up, you never realize the amount of people who are behind this," said Lepper, who's a part of the expansive tournament committee. "The businessmen and the businesswomen who give their time and their effort for it, it's no wonder it's a class-act tournament, because the people who run it are class-act people."

You'll get no argument from first-year Jays head coach Mark Anderson.

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