50 Newcastle families hoop it up at world’s largest 3-on-3 basketball tourney
August 2, 2012
By Katie Larsen
Last month, more than 70 players from 50 Newcastle families participated in Hoopfest, the largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament in the world.
Hoopfest was June 30 and July 1 in downtown Spokane. It spanned 42 city blocks with 458 courts, 7,000 teams and 27,000 players.
David Cour said many kids are part of the Liberty Select Basketball program, which is a select feeder program for the high school.
Cour traveled with his wife and three sons to the event, their fourth time participating. Their sons Chase, 12, and Griffin, 9, both played in the tournament. (Their third son, Kellan, 6, is too young to play.) Chase won his bracket and Griffin came in second place. Cour said the trip is very enjoyable, especially if families are into basketball.
More than 1,000 volunteers help run Hoopfest, including a monitor for each court. Games are 25 minutes or end when the first team gets to 20 points. There were also a lot of sponsor booths and other activities for kids.
Every year, the presence of Newcastle has grown in the event because of word-of-mouth. Dennis Rattie heard so many good things about it from others that he decided to take his 8-year-old, Ethan, to play.
“It was nice to have a lot of friendly faces around there,” Rattie said. “I think the favorite part for me was how big it is.”
Rattie said a packet of information from other Newcastle families was provided for him, including a map showing where all the players from Newcastle would be playing, and their contact information.
“The coolest thing for me was seeing Ethan playing and all the support from others,” he said.
Since the event brings so many people to Spokane, it is difficult to book a hotel room. Upon checkout this year, Rattie said hotels offered registration for next year’s room, which he has already booked.
Lynn Bisset also took her son to play. Jack, 13, played in the tournament with his cousin for the fifth year in a row. The boys have been on the same team since the beginning and took third in their bracket this year.
“If you are a basketball family like we are, it’s just a lot of fun,” Bisset said. “There is basketball everywhere. It’s an upbeat environment and music is blasting.”
To kick-off the weekend, the Newcastle families have a picnic Friday night at Spokane’s Riverfront Park by a big red barn. Bisset said it felt like Lake Boren Park had been picked up and placed in Spokane.
“We kind of overtake this area for a Newcastle picnic, at least 70 to 80 people there,” she said.
While at the park, the kids like to watch the hoops being put up in the street, Debbie McAllister said. Her sons Blake, 13, and Chase, 10, both played at Hoopfest.
“It was really fun,” Chase said.
The boys play with friends from school and said they enjoy that the most. In the past, their dad, Duncan, has played. His bracket won last year and he thought it would be a good time to retire from Hoopfest.
Age brackets separate the games and each court is sponsored. Entry fees vary depending on the type of team. Hoopfest began 22 years ago and since has donated more than $1 million to charitable organizations with an emphasis on Special Olympics.
Katie Larsen: 392-6434, ext. 236, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.