OLEAN — Soggy weather didn’t dampen spirits at the 12th annual Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament this weekend, the Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce reported.
With 688 players with 172 teams on the courts, the tournament beat out the numbers from 2018 despite the poor weather, said Meme Yanetsko, chief operating officer of the Chamber.
“The severe storm that came through Macker Central on Saturday stopped play for the evening and games were called for the night after 3:30 p.m.,” Yanetsko said.
All courts resumed Saturday action on Sunday with 15-minute game times instead of the usual 25 minutes, and reduced scores for finals. Another rainstorm came through Sunday which delayed the games for about 30 minutes, but all courts were complete and finished by 3:30 p.m.
Players appeared to take the quick change in schedule in stride, sticking around for their games.
“We lost some (teams), but the people driving a long distance, they came,” she said. “We don’t think we lost too many people. There were some forfeits, but they hadn’t checked in for Friday or Saturday, anyway.”
Friday night, the Macker Funfest began with player registration and the annual Corporate Cup. Six Macker sponsors teams played a three-on-three basketball tourney where two men and one woman had to be on court at all times. Bysiek CPA defeated Adams Service to win a third consecutive Grand Slam Grill Corporate Cup title.
Opening ceremonies began 8 a.m. Saturday with Olean High School junior Micheyla Williams singing the national anthem, and a dance troop from Neighborhood School of Dance did a special routine to “Surfin’ USA.” The Do Or Die Shot — a ceremonial three-pointer that must be made before the tournament opens — was made by Franklinville junior Dani Haskell and Olean senior Sara Pfeiffer, with Pfeiffer passing to Haskell who made the basket on the first attempt. Haskell and Pfeiffer shared Big 30 girls basketball Player of the Year honors as well as state Player of the Year in Class B and Class D, respectively, by the New York State Sportswriters Association.
The Chamber took over the tournament in 2017 after the Olean City School District Foundation and Clean Sports Boosters pulled the plug after almost a decade of tournaments. In its first year, the Chamber reported 748 players on 187 teams. The Chamber signed a three-year contract, with this weekend’s tournament being the final tournament under that document.
The Chamber board meets in September, and will decide whether to take a new three-year contract, Yanetsko said, but she expects to keep the tournament going — with an early June date.
The first weekend in June was historically the date for the Jamestown tournament, Yanetsko said, and Hornell holds its tournament at the end of July — tournaments must be 50 days or 50 miles apart, she added.
“Kids are still in school, college students are back in town,” Yanetsko said, hoping to get between 220 and 230 teams for the 2020 tournament.
(Contact reporter-editor Bob Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @OTHBob)