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Community Sports

3-on-3 hoops tourney an added Swedish Days attraction

GENEVA – A.J. Friedman charted 1- and 2-point baskets instead of hoisting them at Saturday's Swedish Days 3-on-3 basketball tournament.

The Marmion alumnus from Geneva was unable to wrangle a team in time, but his summer involvement with the Geneva Park District produced a courtside view just the same.

"When you know you could be out there playing with them, when you're watching, you itch to play," Friedman said. "But it's still fun in watching them play. There's a lot of really intense games."

Nineteen teams over three age divisions – 10 to 11, 12 to 13 and 18-plus – kept their bodies in motion and festivalgoers entertained from the time the youth games began around 9 a.m.

The turnout marked a slight regression from past years. Park district facilities manager David Shindley cited a youth baseball tournament in the region that might have compromised would-be participants.

Those thirsting for hoops in what is arguably the Tri-Cities' summer hotbed for the sport – Geneva High School hosts a boys league on Mondays and Wednesdays throughout June – didn't seem to notice.

"It's just kind of synonymous with Saturday morning," Shindley said. "Because when we start, we're kind of the only ones out here. None of the shops and booths are open yet. People that are down here are here to watch the 3-on-3."

The Kosciuk team topped the Denning team in the adult final, which concluded a few hours earlier than in past seasons due to quick games and the lower turnout.

Games were played to 15 points or 15 minutes – whichever came first. Playing back-to-back games was often the norm, but athletes had about 10-15 minutes of rest time in between.

Shindley, a fifth-year park district employee who coordinated the 3-on-3 for the second straight summer, credited a staff that included Friedman and fellow scorekeeper Michael Oetter, who both recently completed their first years of college.

While the tournament isn't quite as seasoned as the 64-year old festival it's part of, the event still has a strong following.

"Especially with the adults, it brings a lot of people to Third Street," Shindley said. "People stop. See what's going on. We get some pretty good crowds along the sidelines, even people that have nothing to really do with the tournament."

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