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Gus Macker tourney seeks community involvement

Anyone can play - that's one of the unofficial mottos of Gus Macker basketball.

Organizers of the Tri-State's first Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament hope the motto rings true when teams hit the streets of Ironton May 21-22.

"The concept started as you're driving down the street and you see some kids in the driveway playing basketball," said Jeff Thomas, director of sales with Macker Basketball. "It's geared so anyone can play."

And that's the real point of Macker basketball, Thomas said. Macker events are all about fun and all about community, he said.

"It's meant to be a community style feel," he said. "You want to see Dads on the court and their kids on a court, too."

The Ironton Macker event is sponsored by the Friends of Ironton along with corporate sponsors including, Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital, Bob Clyse Pontiac-GMC, Coca-Cola/POWERade, Clark's Pump-N-Shops, Marathon Ashland Petroleum and The Ironton Tribune.

So how exactly do tournament coordinators make the match-ups as fair as possible?

"Teams are bracketed or placed in divisions by age, height and playing experience," Thomas said. "The intent is recreational."

Part of that bracketing process is why the team registration deadline is well ahead of the tournament date.

"That's something that makes us different than a lot of local tournaments," Thomas said. "People think they can walk up on the day of the tournament and play. With this kind of bracketing, that's not possible."

Registration forms are available from participating Wendy's restaurants, participating Clark's Pump-N-Shop locations and The Ironton Tribune.

Forms must be postmarked April 29. Teams can register online at www.macker.com. Online registrations are accepted until May 2. Registration fees for the our-man teams, three players on the court and one substitute, are $108 per team, or $27 per player. Each player receives a T-shirt and each team competes for the coveted Macker trophies.

"The trophies are nice and obviously teams come out for the trophies and the T-shirts," Thomas said.

Proceeds from the tournament will benefit the Friends of Ironton, a grassroots, civic improvement group. Past Friends projects have included purchasing bullet-resistant vests for local police officers, purchasing and installing street signs in the Ironton area and repairing facilities at the Wayne National Forest.