—Photo By NICK IVIE
Lacy Hopkins hits a jumper for Make It Rain, which won the consolation championship on Sunday at Hoopfest 25.
By NICK IVIE
SPOKANE — To say things got a bit heated over the weekend at Hoopfest 25 would be a major understatement.
Normally a boiling point because of the 250,000 players and fans packed onto 456 courts spanning 42 downtown blocks, and because of the heated nature between competing athletes, but this year mother nature threw a wrench into the plan as the heat topped 105 degrees.
The Times followed 28 local teams out of the 7,000 total at Hoopfest and found the regional teams won the majority of their games with a win-loss ratio of 53 percent. The teams played a total of 120 games over the two days and won 63 while losing 57.
Three local teams were crowned consolation champions and two squads earned the runner-up spot overall, a much harder feat as those teams played upwards of nine games.
The group featured clever team names that included everything from We Are The Spartans (Robbie Anselmo, Brett Gordon, Brandon McCracken, Kegen Hegel) and Spartan Dream Team (Trentyn Kreager, Blake Barrett, Kameron Salesky, Travis Mathews) to Lumberjack Llamas (Bradyn Hahn, Jayden Hahn, Carson Wiedemeier, Truman Renton) and Hortons Hogmollies (Kevin Wylie, Steven Bryant, Jared Horton, Jeff Sturdivan).
A team full of youth girls let their opponents know right away that it’s, “Go N Down 4 Real” (Kiernan Hegel, Sage Saccomanno, Samantha Krampert, Eden Clemmer) while another took the opposite approach and let everyone know, “Wii Not Fit” (Lily Luckey, Alyssa Carey, Brianna Novak) — likely the most clever of all the local names, and a definite exaggeration for the group of recently graduated Priest River Lamanna High School seniors.
Horton’s Hogmollies went 6-2 to take second place overall after losing to only “Bank Freethrows” early on and again in their final game.
Team Holman (Perry Holman, Mason Clark, Alex Simpkins, Arran Jeter) also took the runner-up spot. The high school team lost their first game but rattled off seven straight wins to force a championship game.
Earning consolation championships were Go N Down 4 Real, Make It Rain (Lacy Hopkins, Melissa Hopkins, Jessica Willig and Julia Faulkner) as well as a group of 1992 and 1993 PRLHS graduates playing for team Sparty.
The team comprised of Brad Naccarato, Robert Guier, Rich deBlaquiere and Tony Martin overcame two opening losses and an injured player in Martin to come back and win the consolation championship.
The group, which included players from the 1993 PRLHS third place state basketball team, reunited after over 20 years of being out of contact and had a blast doing it.
Sparty picked up games against local seniors at the elementary and junior high in preparation for Hoopfest and their efforts paid off.
The team won the consolation title but Naccarato said the best part was, “reconnecting with old friends and teammates after 20-plus years apart.
He added, “It was like no time had passed and we all picked up right where we left off in high school.”