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City A Basket Case More Than 14,000 Players, 40,000 Fans Cut Loose For Hoopfest

Spokane’s Hoopfest ‘95 jammed its way through 12 hours of basketball Saturday with a scraped elbow here, a twisted finger there, but plenty of people ready to play one more day.

An estimated 14,000 or more players came downtown for the annual 3-on-3 tourney.

As many as 40,000 spectators joined players on a long hot day, which Hoopfest officials said was the most crowded in the tourney’s six-year history.

“From what I saw, this was the biggest crowd, significantly larger than last year,” said Hoopfest official Rick Betts.

Nearly all of Saturday’s games went smoothly, with only a few problems complicating the lives of more than 1,000 Hoopfest volunteers, he said.

Some games were delayed because dozens of volunteer court monitors didn’t show up. The monitors who were on hand had to referee more games than expected.

A few other games fell behind schedule when an ambulance came through the courts and held up action for 20 minutes.

Medical volunteers reported one player with a broken leg, another with a mild epileptic seizure and several others with minor heat stroke.

Court officials this year took extra steps to deter players from losing their cool.

Fewer than a half-dozen players were ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct.

“That’s fewer than last year, and makes a statement about our intent,” said K.W. Knorr, director of Hoopfest court monitors.

Today’s games start at 8 a.m.

The tournament championships should start between 4 and 7 p.m.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo