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Friday night’s for hooping

So, it’s Friday. What are your plans for tonight?

WRONG.

Your plans are, in fact, to go out and watch one of our local high school basketball teams in action. Maybe your favorite team is out of town. Doesn’t matter: there’s 21 varsity basketball programs in our area. One of them is playing close enough for you to go see them.

Why should you? Why would a night of hoops be better than a night of … well, see, that’s the point. The other options for tonight aren’t even really worth mentioning. But we’ll do so anyway:

* Watching the movie “A Christmas Story” on either TNT or TBS. Look, we all know it’s a great movie. But it’ll be on TNT or TBS approximately 1,479 times before New Year’s. And as funny as it is watching that kid get his tongue frozen to the pole, you’ve seen it every year for the past 16 years. (Besides, the play adaptation is playing at Canebrake over the weekend and it’ll be better anyway.)

* Eating out. What, concession nachos, popcorn, and a Snickers aren’t good enough for you? Nectar of the gods, I call it. And basketball makes for much, much more exciting dinner theater than another discussion of who’s going to take down the Christmas tree come mid-January.

* Christmas shopping. It’s nice that you want to give Uncle George another tie. After all, he still doesn’t have as many ties as Aunt Gertrude has hats, and that’s a lofty goal to shoot for. But don’t you think you can spend one evening giving our local athletes the gift of cheering? It’s a lot easier to get in and out of a gym with your checkbook intact than it is that department store, too.

Still not convinced? Here’s a reason to see each one of Friday’s games involving area teams:

Demopolis at Thomasville: C’mon, it’s Demopolis at Thomasville. You need more of a reason?

Livingston at Sumter Co: The 2005 3A state boys’ champion against their most heated rival in the county’s biggest (only?) sport. Huge.

Choctaw Co. at Greene Co.: Last season’s 4A boys champion looks to rebound from overtime loss at Sumter.

John Essex at Sunshine: Rematch of last year’s boys’ 1A Area 8 championship game. (And Sunshine’s girls qualified for regionals last year.)

Southern Academy Christmas Tournament: Southern Acad., Marengo Acad., Warrior Acad., Pickens Acad. Southern’s at home. Marengo’s boys are the early kings of the fourth-quarter comeback. And neither of Warrior’s teams has lost a game yet.

West Alabama Prep at Sumter Acad.: Boys’ first meeting came down to fourth quarter.

MMI at Open Door: Both MMI’s boys and girls teams should contend for a state title again.

Keith at R.C. Hatch: Hatch’s boys, who should be right back in state title contention this season, face off with an area rival.

Jemison at Greensboro: The Raiders try to get a nearly leg up in their area.

Linden at Akron: Gary Williams’ sweet, sweet ‘fro.

Marengo at Coffeeville: Panther boys won’t want to lose two straight area games after Linden setback.

Aliceville at Francis Marion: Marion’s boys are on a quest to return to Final Four they owned not so long ago.

Silas at Sweet Water: Home opener for the Bulldogs.

So, no excuses. You’ll thank me later.