Participation below par for Hoopla 3-on-3 event

David Everett of Cook’s Cafe drives to the basket on KnicAbockers Josh Pena on Saturday in the Hoopla 3-on-3 tournament at Hillcrest Park. Photo by Eric Kluth

By Dave Wagner

From a bottom line standpoint, this weekend’s third annual Clovis “Hoopla 3 on 3 Streetball” basketball tournament at Hillcrest Park didn’t do as well as normal.

Still, Play Inc. executive director Steve Muscato said the event is worthwhile.

“The numbers are down a little this year, but there’s nothing you can do about it,” Muscato said. “We’ll still be able to make a little money. But the bottom line is that people are having fun.”

The non-profit organization uses the activitity as a fundraiser.

Competing with a state USSSA girls slow-pitch tournament this year, the basketball event probably lost a third of its normal participation, Muscato said Saturday.

Part of it was motel space wasn’t available for some potential out-of-town participants.

“We had some teams that couldn’t find a place to stay,” said Virgil Craft, president/CEO of AllStar Sports, which puts on the event in conjunction with Play Inc. and the City of Clovis Parks Department.

Muscato said 52 teams signed up for the event in brackets from 8 years old to adult. “Normally, we’d try to have 80 to 100 teams,” he said.

Hoopla replaced the Gus Macker 3-on-3 event after longtime organizer Jerry Lott moved away three years ago.

“We like working with (AllStar Sports); it’s a New Mexico-based company,” Muscato said. “I’ve been very impressed with them.”

The Clovis event is one of 35 cities nationwide and in Canada by AllStar Sports, Craft said.

The tournament was to have been next weekend, but Craft said his group had another event scheduled in Portland, Ore., and requested a change.

When it was rescheduled, neither Muscato nor Craft were aware of the softball tournament.

“We’re down in our numbers,” Craft said. “Our high school girls (divisions) really suffered. We’re probably looking at a different date for next year.”

Still, he said his group likes the Hillcrest Park facility and hopes to have perhaps 150 to 200 teams here next year.

“It’s nice, with the trees and all in the park,” Craft said. “We want to keep coming here. Out of all the events we have, (Hillcrest) is probably in the top five.”

Round-robin pool play began on Saturday and will be completed this morning. The top three teams in each pool then advance to single-elimination bracket play in the afternoon.