Written by Al Stover
The sound of basketballs bouncing on the court and calls out for passes filled the air as youth ran up and down the court, trying to shoot the ball.
The Fort Peck Youth Recreation and Fort Peck Community College Wolf Point Wellness Center held a youth basketball tournament at the West End Playground.
There were over 100 kids, ranging from five to 17 years old, who came to play in the tournament or watch their friends. Players arrived hours before the actual start of the tournament, warming up with practice shots and quick pick-up games.
Jason Azure, who works at the youth recreation center, thanked all the players for coming to compete and all the volunteers for helping. He also said the tournament was not so much about winning, but rather about having fun before school starts.
Some teams paid homage to NBA franchises by picking names like Suns, Thunder and Celtics. Other teams were more creative and picked names like Cloud Hoop, The Outsiders and Rockstars.
Ryan Barnett and Jaki Harada, who were members of the team named Lightning, said their favorite part of the tournament was getting to play basketball. Sierra Summers, a member of Cloud Hoop, said she also had fun playing basketball.
In addition to the tournament, Charlie Four Bear brought horses. When teams were not playing on the basketball court, players were given a chance to ride horses around the playground.
The recreation center also cooked hamburgers and hotdogs for players and volunteers.
During the final set of games between the Celtics
and the Fantastic Four, players not on the court helped the volunteers clean up the playground.
Azure said it was a great turnout and he was thankful for all the players, volunteers and parents who came.
“It’s great that kids came together to have a good time,” Azure said.
He also thanked Stacey Summers, who was responsible for putting together the tournament.
Summers was happy about the turnout.
“It was hot, but a lot of kids came out,” she said. “I was surprised.”