Panama Holiday Festival today, Thursday

So, you thought that you were going to have to wait until next week for basketball — both when high schools will resume their current season as well as the 2012 LeFlore County Junior High Tournament. Not so.Today and Thursday will be the first-ever Panama Holiday Festival, which will not only feature the host Hogs and Lady ’Backs, but Howe’s teams, Spiro’s squads and teams from Acorn, Ark.For starters, this event was created to avoid some busy weeks which would have happened otherwise for the Panama teams.“We’re not in a conference, and we were having to play sometimes as many as three games a week,” Panama Boys Coach Greg Nichols said. “Last December, we decided to try to have a Christmas Holiday Festival. So, we started calling schools to get participants, and we filled it up — and lots of them were excited to do it. I know (Spiro Boys) Coach (Dustin) Gist is real excited about it. We’re excited to be having it, and we hope it turns out well.”It also gets some regular games in during the Christmas Break instead of trying to find other means by which the teams could stay sharp.“We’re not going to have to try to find people to scrimmage over the break,” Nichols said. “We now have some regular-season games.”The schedule is listed at the end of this column.LeFlore County JH Tournament Guide Coming Out SaturdayThe 2012 LeFlore County Junior High Tournament Guide will be published in Saturday’s edition, which will be New Year’s Eve — Dec. 31. Last week, I accidentally put the day before, and I apologize.This week, not only will I be giving coverage to the Panama Holiday Festival, but I’ll prepare this season’s JH Tournament Guide.SchedulePanama Holiday Festival ScheduleTuesday’s GamesSpiro girls vs. Acorn, Ark., 4 p.m.Spiro boys vs. Acorn, Ark., 5:30 p.m.Howe girls vs. Panama, 7 p.m.Howe boys vs. Panama, 8:30 p.m.Thursday’s GamesHowe girls vs. Spiro, 4 p.m.Howe boys vs. Spiro, 5:30 p.m.Panama girls vs. Acorn, Ark., 7 p.m.Panama boys vs. Acorn, Ark., 8:30 p.m.