Well, the big day is over, already some presents are broken (the most expensive, of course), the kids are getting on your nerves, and there's still a week of vacation ahead. You'd love to take the little ones out, but holiday shopping has left you destitute.
Welcome to the day after Christmas.
Local high school athletic directors may have the ticket -- and a rather inexpensive one, at that -- for your family's night out. Several basketball and wrestling tournaments are on tap the next few days and the cost is right -- adult tickets $2 or $3 per night, kid's tickets a buck less and inexpensive concession stands brimming with homemade goodies.
Here's a look at tournaments involving county teams, with information about times, locations and the squads involved (with the most recent record available in parentheses).
* LIBERTY BELL, Liberty High, Thursday and Friday. Two of the girls teams in this tournament are among the early season top-20 picks in the metro area. Catonsville (4-0) of Baltimore County is ranked No. 15 and Howard (2-0) of Howard County No. 16 by The (Baltimore) Evening Sun.
Catonsville faces Atholton (2-0) of Howard County in Thursday's 2 p.m.
opener, while Howard faces Liberty (2-4) at 6. The consolation game is at 2 p.m. Friday and the championship at 6.
Catonsville is led by junior guard Jill Altshuler, who has averaged 12.5 points and 7.2 assists per game in the early season. Howard is paced by senior guard Kristi Greer, a first-team All-Metro pick by The Sun last season. Liberty's ace is junior Kelly Foreman, who is second among county scorers with 15.4 points per game.
The boys draw isn't quite as talented, but does feature one undefeated team. Bel Air (2-0) of Harford County meets Glenelg (0-3) of Howard County in the 4 p.m. game tomorrow, while Owings Mills (1-2) of Baltimore County battles Liberty at 8. The consolation game is 4 p.m. Friday and the championship at 8.
Bel Air has eight players back from last year's 6-16 team, when guards Mike Eves and Jason Pruitt combined for 25 points per game. Glenelg is struggling after going 14-10 last year. Owings Mills has two frontcourt players about 6-foot-6. Liberty guards Neal Lampron and Matt Alexander have combined for nearly 24 points per contest.
* WESTMINSTER INVITATIONAL, Westminster High, Thursday and Friday. This tournament is loaded with three county girls teams.
North Carroll (3-2) has picked up steam after some early season losses and meets Littlestown (1-3) of Pennsylvania's Blue Mountain League in Thursday's 3 p.m. game. Westminster (2-2) tangles with Francis Scott Key (1-4) at 7 p.m.
Marianne Dempsey averages more than 11 points per game for Littlestown, but was held to just one in a loss to Gettysburg (Pa.) last week. North Carroll can score inside with Lisa Garland (15.2 points per game), Jenni Heindel (8.2 points) and Michele Jeffrey (6.4) or outside with Kim Piccone (6).
Key has played well defensively but struggled offensively (none of its players are among the top 10 in the county in scoring), and will have its work cut out trying to slow Westminster's high-scoring backcourt of Stephanie Morningstar (leading the county with 16 points per game) and Lisa Brown (fourth in the county with 10.7).
In the boys tournament, Mount Hebron (2-2) of Howard County faces St.
John's-Prospect Hall (7-3) of Frederick County at 5 p.m. Thursday, while Rockville of Montgomery County meets Westminster (1-3) at 9.
St. John's, which plays a steady diet of private and parochial schools, has built its record behind just one statistical standout -- senior guard Brian Claggett, who has averaged 14.5 points through the first 10 games.
Westminster has stumbled out of the blocks, but guard Herman Costley has been awesome, averaging more than 31 points per game, including 43 in a recent loss to Howard.
* NORTH CARROLL HOLIDAY, North Carroll High, Thursday and Friday. North Carroll and Francis Scott Key bring the best records into the boys event.
Key (3-2) meets Centennial (1-2) of Howard County at 6 p.m. tomorrow, while North Carroll (4-1) meets Franklin (1-2) of Baltimore County at 7:30. The consolation game is at 6 p.m. Friday, with the championship at 7:30.
Key has already surprised some by winning both of its county games this year, as Scott Kreit has averaged 15 points and Larry Haines 12 per game.
North Carroll's strong start has been paced by Scott Deltuva, who averages nearly 12 points a game.
* COLONIAL INVITATIONAL, New Oxford (Pa.) High, Today and Thursday.
South Carroll (2-2) gets an early jump on the tournament schedule, playing host to New Oxford (0-5) at 8 p.m. tonight. Hanover (1-2) meets Littlestown (0-4) in the 6 p.m. opener of the tournament, which features three Pennsylvania schools.
Standout players include Mike Hostetler (15.5 point average) and Darin Peart (14.8) of Littlestown, Kevin Trish (12.7) of Hanover and Joe Rickrode (11.8) of New Oxford. Chris Larrick and Mike Downs each average about 13 per game for South Carroll.
* FRANCIS SCOTT KEY WRESTLING INVITATIONAL, Thursday. Liberty, Catoctin of Frederick County and North Hagerstown of Washington County all have started well this season, while Class 4A Woodlawn is the biggest school involved.
Among county wrestlers, Liberty's Matt Cavicchio (119 pounds), Charlie Seal (140), Anthony Biasella (145) and Jeff Wagner (160) should fare well, as should Key's Clayton Robertson (125) and Wyatt Griffin (135). The first round starts at 11 a.m. tomorrow, with the finals scheduled for 7 p.m.
All-day wrestling will include a companion junior varsity event.