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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Hoop Fest produces two days of exciting action

Monday, January 14, 2013

(Photo)
After two days and eight basketball games, it's safe to say the 2nd annual Penny Hardaway Hoop Fest at Dyer County High School went over well...really well.

Having been at the event for two straight days, rest assured now that the event has come and gone, there is plenty to be proud of when looking back.

First and foremost, the enormous amount of fans paying $10 and $12 for a seat in the gym sure got a deal and then some. For fans of basketball, I'm not sure if the whole event could have gone off any smoother.

While Travis Haddock and Steve Woodward were the ones responsible for bringing in the top talent from across the nation, the administration at DCHS should take a bow for their efforts to make sure all went well, which it did.

From start to finish the event was first class. From the easy access to the gym to the hospitality room and all points in between, it was an impressive event.

While wondering what it would be like to see Findlay Prep, the No.1 team in the country, play a game in our community, being honest I really just wanted to see R3 (short for Robert Hubbs III) and his teammates play against some really good competition.

Sure, having the No.1-ranked team play at DCHS was awesome, but I was more impressed with teams other than the No.1-ranked studs out of Nevada. Anyone attending the event was probably amazed at the size of the numerous teams playing on Thursday and Friday, and some of those attending even sent texts asking why we don't have that can of height around here.

Though not sure what the answer is, but it's kind of cool watching a 7-footer shoot 3-pointers and making them with little effort.

Seeing Penny Hardaway was another highlight to the event, as was seeing Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo on the front row during Friday's games.

But, even still with all the hoopla, it was the final games on both nights involving Dyer County that most of the people were there to see.

R3 and company didn't disappoint either.

First, the Choctaws pulled away from a 15-1 Charleston, MO team on Thursday before handing Harrisburg, Illinois its first loss this season after the squad had won 15 straight.

While both contests were exciting to watch from start to finish, it's a good thing I write and don't coach or my team would have faced No.1-ranked Findlay Prep. Yes sir, march into the gym where the Choctaws rarely lose and yep, I would have had to do it just to see where DC really stood among the top-ranked team in the country.

It would have been a win-win situation in my opinion. If DC played Prep and lost by 20 it would have been expected, but could we even begin to imagine what it would been like if let's say, DC would have won by one?

Instead of area notoriety, the name Dyer County would have spread over the national hoops circles like wildfire. Now that would be pretty special stuff.

In any case, the event was first class and the administration at DCHS did a splendid job of pulling off what has become one of the premier events in the entire country.

Chances are the Hoop Fest will return next year to DCHS. It happened once, and by the reaction of those attending, it will be welcomed back again.

Your comments are welcome at msmith@stategazette.com



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