Rain or shine: It’s Macker-time

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 13, 2010

By 11 a.m. Saturday, the pizza delivery guy had to double park on South Third Street.

That’s because Gus Macker had come to Ironton and was taking over the place.

From South Second where court after basketball court was set up down the street to as far as the courthouse where parking was at a premium, everyone was either heading for a game, watching a game or playing in one.

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Ronnie Gunther of Coal Grove had one of the toughest times Saturday morning. He had to be in two places at once.

That’s because two of his favorite players were competing in different age brackets: His son, Ty Gunther, 9, was playing a couple of courts down from where Isaiah Gunter, 13, Ronnie’s nephew was playing for Fox’s Lawn Care.

That was the team Ronnie was coaching and eagerly watching every move.

“Nice touch. Nice touch,” he called out from the sidelines. “Now help out.”

Fox’s Lawn Care was battling with the Sharks, but 15 minutes into the 25-minute game Fox’s Lawn was ahead by seven.

Gunther used to play center for the South Point Pointers when he was in high school and was giving the younger players the benefit for his skill.

“This is a really good community thing,” Gunther said. “You can bring your kids down and they can play on inflatables. They do a really good job.”

It was the third year for Zekia Lee, 11, of Ironton to play in the Macker. Zekia will enter Ironton Middle School in the fall. This time her grandfather, Jerry Foley of South Point, was cheering her on.

“This is great for the community and great for the kids,” Foley said.

A drenching rain hit the tournament close to 1 p.m. and kept officials and players huddled in the City Center to decide whether the outdoor venue or gyms at local schools would prevail as the location for the rest of the afternoon.

Within an hour, everyone was back at Second Street, keeping their fingers crossed another downpour would pass by. The rains held off for the rest of the afternoon.

Gus Macker games conclude today with championship tourneys.