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Talent level high for annual Royal 5-on-5

By JIM WALKER

Tribune Sports Editor

Bruce Royal is focusing his attention on something else these days beside his photography business.

Royal Photography will take a back seat this weekend as Royal will again be the director for the annual Memorial Day weekend men’s 5-on-5 basketball tournament held on the playground at Madison and Ninth Streets.

The fifth annual tournament will held on Saturday and Sunday. The first games on the two courts will begin at 9 a.m. and continue past 7 p.m. each day.

“We’re expecting a huge turnout to watch because of the quality of athletes. We don’t give out cash prizes, so we can get anyone who wants to play,” said Royal.

“The tournament teams are incredible. I would say these are the best teams we’ve ever had. We have a travel team from West Virginia that just finished a tournament in Las Vegas. There’s a college team from Circleville, we have players from Marshall who are on teams and some Huntington Prep players as well.”

Also entered are teams that include players from current and past Shawnee State teams. A total of 20 teams have entered the two-day affair.

“The competition will be incredible. It’s growing bigger and better every year,” said Royal.

The tournament has grown mainly due to community support. Royal offered special thanks to Wes Banco, Ohio River Bank and City National Bank as well as the city of Ironton.

Royal said Jeff Linn at Bob Linn Sporting Goods has been at work on the tournament’s last-minute orders.

“Everyone has offered to help on their own. Everyone who supported us last year offered to help again this year,” said Royal.

“We’ve had another 20 people who just volunteered to help with things like keeping the scorebook. The Ironton Police Department always has someone there to help out if needed. They just hang out and talk to kids and help any way they can.”

While the spring has been filled with rain, Royal said not to worry. The tournament will be able to move indoors if needed thanks to Ironton High School and athletic director Mark LaFon.

“Ironton High School has had my back every year. Mark LaFon gives me the gyms in case it rains,” said Royal.

“The whole city has supported this and it’s been a community event. It’s eight dollars per player, they get a shirt, we have officials and scorekeepers. Every penny we have goes into making it better next year.”

The tournament includes a 3-point contest, a slam dunk contest plus vendors, food, drinks and games for kids.

Added to the event will be cornhole tournaments that include a men’s, women’s, co-ed and blind draw tournaments. Each division will conduct a tournament daily.