Hoopsters Packing Local Courts Before The Weekend

SPOKANE — The count down is on for Hoopfest 2008.

In five days, 140,000 people will descend on Spokane for the world’s largest three-on-three basketball tournament.

With the games just a few days away, you’ll have a tough time finding any place to practice, as local outdoor courts are packed with people getting ready.

The courts at St. Al’s Catholic School near Gonzaga on Mission were packed Monday evening with players, and more were waiting along the side for their chance to play. Courts were filled at parks and elementary schools across Spokane.

St. Al’s is known for having some of the best competition. The players here say the courts fill up the week before Hoopfest because players need to get in shape and get used to playing outside.

“Playing down on Spokane Falls Boulevard, the courts are a little wavy so you need to get used to the bumps and bruises and potholes, you need to get those fixed,” Basketball player Jacob Proctor said.

“Always in Spokane, two weeks before Hoopfest, it’s predictable. Everybody decides they’re going to get in shape for Hoopfest and come down here, and they think playing two weeks gets them ready to go, so this is what you get, after Hoopfest it will be a ghost town again, basketball player Sam Conner said.

The coveted Hoopfest brackets with game times, competition and court locations, comes out on Wednesday.