GALLIPOLIS — The Hoop Project once again attracted reportedly a few thousand visitors over the weekend for a three-on-three basketball tournament with players traveling from as far away as Florida, North Carolina and Kentucky.
The tri-county area of Gallia, Mason and Meigs counties were also represented on the courts.
“We felt like the entire weekend was a huge success,” said event organizer and Downtown Revitalization Project member Robbie Pugh. “Around 450 games were played in 48 hours. The Hoop Project is the perfect combination of players, volunteers, business owners and local government officials to create epicness.”
Gallipolis City Commissioner Matt Johnson has said in the past he believes the Hoop Project to now be the largest annual event in Gallipolis City Park. The Hoop Project just finished its fifth weekend in Gallia County after having hosted 180 teams with over 1,000 players with an untold number of spectators crowding First Avenue, Court and State Street around the park.
Last year’s tournament attracted 155 teams while 120 played in 2015 and 75 in 2014. According to information released last year by Downtown Revitalization Project sources, the tournament is organized by the DRP in order to generate revenue for area businesses as well as providing entertainment to attract visitors to the area. The Hoop Project reportedly spent over $8,000 with local businesses for event expenses.
State Representative Ryan Smith served as the weekend’s hoop master. Isaiah Rivera with the Court Kingz took home the $1,000 check after winning the SIA Dunk Contest Saturday evening. Court Kingz played an all-star exhibition game Saturday evening after the rest of the day was spent among the various age brackets. The Court Kingz are an entertainment-style basketball organization which travels the country and helps fund raise for community events and nonprofits. Viral Youtube sensations Froggy Fresh and Money Maker Mike were present to perform some of their most famous songs, some with millions of views online.
The Ruff Riders claimed victory over the boys 8 and under division. Game Changers took the boys 9 through 10 division. Scrubs claimed victory in the boys 11 through 12. Hoop Stars were the champs of the boys 13 to 14 bracket. The 15 to 16 boys champ was the Pumas +1. The 17 to 18 boys champs were Abbyshire Place Nursing and Rehab Service. The men’s open was claimed by the Court Kingz, along with its $2,500 prize. The men’s 19 to 35 division was won by the team Uncle Doby.
In girls 8 and under, the Vikings claimed the day. In girls 9 through 10, the Hot Shots came out on top. Girls 11 through 12’s division was taken by the Blacktop Ballers. The Dribblin’ Dragons led the brackets in the girls 13 to 14. Dream Team Chad Joseph bested the girls 15 to 16. J.S. Marine Team bested the women’s open.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.