June 26, 1995 in Nation/World

Hoopfest Scores A Winner Despite Smooth-Running Event, Organizers Ponder Slower Growth

By The Spokesman-Review

Hoopfest organizers gave one another high-fives Sunday after watching their annual 3-on-3 basketball tourney get bigger and better than last year’s.

Having orchestrated a party with 14,000 players and almost 40,000 spectators on both Saturday and Sunday in downtown Spokane, Hoopfest officials thanked the hoop gods for warding off the evil spirits of big screw-ups, petty nastiness and lousy timing.

The two hot days of games featured lucky shots, hard fouls and enough handshakes to keep spirits tamed and neighborly.

“Can we handle 400 more teams next year? I don’t know. It depends on what happens with downtown building projects,” said Hoopfest Executive Director Rick Steltenpohl.

The mostly volunteer-run event absorbed nearly 300 more teams this year than last.

Apart from about a dozen injuries and cases of heatstroke, the only problem was a shortage of court monitors. About 40 failed to show up Saturday.

By Sunday, nearly that many extra people had volunteered, said coordinator Brian McClain.

Hoopfest board member Rick Betts, who played three games and watched three children compete in different brackets, said he wouldn’t be surprised if Hoopfest needs to slow its growth.

“We might be able to get a little bigger, but eventually, we’ll need to plateau.”

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo

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