YOUTH BASKETBALL: It's hoops, hoops and hoops
Starting today, there will be approximately 2,600 youth basketball players in Grand Forks to participate in the 23rd annual Junior Grand Am. The tournament drew a record number of teams, and that's a good thing for the Grand Forks Fast Break Club...
Starting today, there will be approximately 2,600 youth basketball players in Grand Forks to participate in the 23rd annual Junior Grand Am.
The tournament drew a record number of teams, and that's a good thing for the Grand Forks Fast Break Club -- the organization that sponsors the event.
"All of the profits from the tournament go back into supporting our programs," said Jody Thompson, the Fast Break Club president. "And we believe it also has a significant economic impact on the city."
The Junior Grand Am also is the biggest youth basketball tournament in the state, one that will be played on 20 courts at eight venues in the city.
The event has grown over the past few years for a number of reasons. But organizers didn't know how big this year's tournament would be until the final week.
"We take every team," said Fast Break board member Brian Halvorson. "So a lot of teams wait until the end to enter. Our deadline to enter was March 29. Last week, we had 150 teams register."
But that's a good problem to have for an organization trying to develop basketball in the city.
The tournament is the Fast Break Club's only fund raiser. "That's why we need to keep it going," Halvorson said.
The Fast Break Club also sponsors local AAU teams; summer camps and some traveling teams for young players.
"We also have great venues and a lot of community support," Thompson said.
The tournament also uses registered officials -- another selling point for teams, said Thompson.
"Ed James lines up the officials," Halvorson said. "He puts in a lot of time and we're grateful for his help."
This year's tournament features eight divisions, ranging from third grade to high school.
The high school boys division is the largest, with 46 teams entered.
There will be 208 teams from North Dakota, 82 from Minnesota and 36 from Canada on hand this weekend.
In all, there will be 559 games played today, Saturday and Sunday.
Nelson reports on sports. Reach him at (701) 780-1268; (800) 477-6572, ext. 268; or send e-mail to email@example.com .