The second annual Hazelton Hoopla basketball tournament featured non-stop excitement and down to the wire action in both men’s and women’s divisions, with Port Simpson taking the men’s side with a last-minute desperation shot and Hazelton’s Gitxsan Mystics taking the women’s.
The tournament had a eight teams in each of the men’s and women’s after two teams from each side dropped out due to poor travelling conditions.
Organizers were pleased to see the competitiveness of the tourney and will be looking to expand for next year. This year teams came from as far away as Fort Nelson.
Both gymnasiums were packed for all games as many fans travelled with their local favorites to support them in their efforts.
Carlene Wright, a Hazelton player and one of the organizers, said that the tournament was an excellent revenue maker for the community.
“We had lots of local sponsors and we’re looking to expand next year,” she said.
All Native Tournament MVP Taylor Wale was named MVP for the Hoopla tournament as well for her outstanding play.
According to Wright, the play was very high level and very intense.
On the men’s side, the Port Simpson squad had to wait for a shot at the buzzer to take down Smithers in a game that left many gasping for breath with its excitement.
A number of the teams featured players with university experience and now that the college season is over, they were available to play for their local squads. Teams included both Native and non-Native members on their rosters.
Wright said that local sponsors did a very good job in coming up with various prizes for door prizes and so on, but organizers are already looking to expand sponsorship for next year’s Hoopla.