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With the popularity of basketball so prevalent in Southeast Alaska, taking advantage of community support to benefit local charities through tournaments is a common practice by organizations around Juneau.
Once again, this year is no different. The Hoops for Charity basketball tournament, now in its fourth year, is back for a three-day event over Super Bowl weekend, Feb. 4-6, featuring teams from Southeast and Whitehorse.
“It originated as an invitational men’s and women’s basketball tournament to raise funds to donate back to worthwhile charities in our community,” tournament director Cliff Tagaban said. “This year we’ll be donating to Thunder Mountain baseball and Special Olympics of Juneau.”
The tournament is separated into the Women’s Division, Men’s Open Division and Masters’ Divison for men 40 years and older.
The women will play at Riverbend Elementary on Feb. 4 and at Thunder Mountain High School Feb. 5-6 in both the main and auxiliary gyms. All Men’s Open Division games will be in the main gym at TMHS, while Masters’ Division games will be in both gymnasiums.
All championship games will be in the TMHS main gym.
Tagaban said he and local friend Arnold Ibias of TBG Office Solutions, Inc., started the tournament four years ago in hopes of giving those who couldn’t go to other tournaments in the area — like those in Haines, Sitka and Juneau’s Gold Medal Tournament — another chance to play.
“We’ve tried to stay with that idea and so far it’s been working,” Tagaban said. “What we’re trying to sell, if we can get the gym time for future purposes, is to try and host this tournament over Super Bowl weekend every year and maybe attract more teams.”
There is limited space in Juneau for such tournaments, however, Tagaban said. While Hoops for Charity hopes to lock down an annual Super Bowl weekend tournament, the organization also is at the mercy of the schools where the games would be played.
“We get whatever gym time is available, given to us by community schools,” Tagaban said. “They have been so helpful in knocking down barriers and doing whatever they can to get us gym time.
“We take whatever time is available, but we’re going to try and push the idea of having it Super Bowl weekend and have the games end before the Super Bowl starts.”
Admission for the tournament has not yet been decided, but Tagaban said it will be minimal and donations are always accepted. Hoops for Charity is still looking for referees and scorekeepers. Call Tagaban at 957-1464 or 523-1971 with any questions.
One or more of Juneau’s dance groups will perform Saturday at 7:30 p.m. between games.