Dozens of Vashon hoopsters take on Hoopfest in Spokane

In the weeks before the end of the school year, during the evenings one could not arrive to any of the outdoor basketball hoops at Chautauqua or McMurray and find a vacant hoop.

What caused such an influx of players to congregate to the courts on summer evenings? They were preparing for the world’s largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament: Spokane’s Hoopfest 2009.

More than fourteen teams of four players each, representing all ages and levels of Island ballers, joined a recordbreaking 6,600 other teams (27,000 players) June 26 and 27 for the massive event.

“It’s a great family event, a real wholesome event and very well organized,” said Vashon Island Junior Basketball president Foss Miller.

On the last weekend of June, for nearly 20 years, Spokane has literally blocked off its downtown streets for hoopsters from all over the nation, who gather for two days of competition, sun, fun and for the pure love of the sport. Even basketball legends such as Kareem Abdul-Jabar have attended past Hoopfests. Every square inch of the downtown area and Riverfront Park becomes a basketball court — including the bridges over the Spokane River, which are blocked off and constructed into courts.

In the past, Vashon has fielded a few teams and sent them to Spokane for the big event, but this year, Vashon Island Junior Basketball, under the direction of Miller and Sandy Tillman, encouraged its members to put teams together and make the trek.

“Every year, there are a couple more teams,” said Miller, who has taken part in Hoopfest for three years. “There were close to twice as many this year.”

The teams were:

The Otters — sixth-grade boys Alex Symbol, Edgar Polkat, Logan Hawkins and Fletcher Call, coach Pat Call. Record 7-2.

V.I. Four — sixth-grade boys Forrest Miller, Harper Whitney, Sam Yates and Gabe Reoux, coaches Foss Miller and John Yates. Record: 5-0.

Vashon Island Pirates — sixth-grade boys Josh Tillman, Sean Delargy, Clyde Pruett and Chester Pruett, coach Sandy Tillman. Record: 3-2.

The Pirate Boys — fourth-grade boys Wyatt Yates, Andrew Walker, Devon Bedard and Ethan Starr, coaches John Yates, Sharon Bedard and Jim Walker. Record: 1-2.

Vashon Pirate Boys — third-grade boys John Misel, Kalen Cunningham, Tommy Delargy and Finbarr Anderson. Record: 4-2.

Vashon Green Rockets — fourth-grade boys Will Misel, Christopher Walker, Rhys Jennings and Austin Laing. Record: 3-2.

Vashon Lightning — seventh/eighth-grade girls Katherine Misel, Brooke Whitney, Alyson Laing and Taegan Lynch. Record: 1-2.

Six feet and Under — co-ed competitive players Kelly Costello, Mike Costello, Chrissy Swope and Chad Tillman. Record: 2-2.

Flaming Orange — sixth-grade girls Lilly Hennessey, Kai Li Scheer, Abigail Kim and Natalie Vandevanter, coach Lauri Hennessey. Record 1-2.

Island Gurlz — fifth-grade girls Audrey Watkins-Czala, Rain Sheehan, Lily Robinthal and Eva Anderson, and last-minute replacement player Virginia Miller, coach Chris Czala. Record: 1-2

Vashon Ballers — men’s competitive players Odin Jacobovitch, Jake Theno, Thomas Timm-Skove and Jake Jacobovitch. Record: 3-1.

Black Jacks — eighth-grade boys: Shane Bedard, Owen Brenno, Thomas Douglas and Garret Star, coach Roger Douglas. Record: 2-2.

“Vashon” — seventh-grade boys Ezra Ende, Graham Hazzard, Steen Jennings and Ian Stewart, coach Rich Hazzard. Record: 3-2.

Vashon Vandals — seventh-grade boys Leonardo DeBlasi, Jesse Norton, Anil Krogness, and Josh Mayier, coach James Norton. Record: 4-2

A Mighty Wind — Adult bracket players Rich Hazzard, Bill Radford, Tom Sullivan and Chuck Wetzler Record: 3-2.

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