Young basketball players throughout the area are invited to participate in the Hoops For Kids 3-on-3 Tournament, which will be Aug. 16 at Peter Atkins Park in Covington.
The event is returning to the local recreation scene after a three-year hiatus. According to State Rep. John Schroder, he was approached about doing something to help rebuild the courts at Peter Atkins Park four years ago.
“The courts were getting really old,” he said. “Someone from the community came to me and asked me to help. So, we went to work on it. It came together quickly.”
With the help of Chevron, the New Orleans Hornets (now the Pelicans), the Northshore Community Foundation, the City of Covington, the National Guard and others, two new courts (four half-courts) were constructed on the site.
The first 3-on-3 Hoops for Kids Tournament was held in 2011 to showcase the new facilities, and 180 junior high and high school-age players participated.
This year, the tournament is back and the goal is to raise money to help cover the courts. Schroder said to cover and light the facility, an additional $225,000 is needed. He added that with money raised from the 2011 tournament, help from a community block grant via St. Tammany Parish, the City of Covington, Chevron and others, “We are well on our way to getting it done.”
This year’s tournament will have teams of four in junior high and high school categories for boys and girls. The first team to score 15 points wins. Four half-court games will take place simultaneously, and the event is double elimination. Winning teams will receive prizes, including jerseys, trophies, gift certificates and more.
In 2011, a boys’ team from St. Paul’s won, as did a girls’ team from East Jefferson High. A squad from William Pitcher Junior High won the boys’ junior high division. No junior high girls’ teams entered.
The cost to register is $20 per team. Proceeds will directly benefit the court improvement project. Schroder indicated that proceeds from future tournaments would help continue to upgrade the courts, with other money going to the nearby Boys and Girls Club.
In addition to what is sure to be great competition on the courts, a yet-to-be-named member of the New Orleans Pelicans will attend the tournament.
Schroder said the covered and lighted courts at Peter Atkins “will be an asset to the city of Covington.”
“Last time, we had participation from throughout southeast Louisiana,” he said. “We didn’t do it for a couple years, but now we’re back, and we’re excited. We had 180 kids play, and we were really impressed with the turnout. That was 2011. This year, we think we can have 200 or so.”
The Hoops For Kids 3-on-3 Tournament is expected to begin at 8:30 a.m. and last until approximately 5:30 p.m. Food and drink will be available for purchase. In case of inclement weather, the tournament will be moved to William Pitcher Junior High.
On Aug. 9, a patron party will be at the Columbia Street Tap Room’s Seiler Bar. The cost to attend that event, which will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., is $50 per ticket.
Peter Atkins Park is at 28th Avenue and Tyler Street in Covington.
Registration information for the 3-on-3 is available online at the Hoops For Kids 2014 Facebook page, and via Twitter @hoopsforkids.
Donations can be made on the Northshore Community Foundation website, www.northshorefoundation.org.
For information, call Schroder’s office at (985) 893-6262.
Andrew Canulette covers recreation and leisure activities for the St. Tammany Advocate. To reach him, email email@example.com.