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Rain won't put damper on Gus Macker

The final day of the 2009 Gus Macker three-on-three tournament was more like a competitive game of Slip 'n Slide than a basketball tournament.

Due to the steady rainfall at last summer's games, major modifications had to be made to finish the tournament.

With an early forecast showing scattered thunderstorms for both Saturday and Sunday, Sue Gonzalez, executive director of the Buffalo Police Athletic League, is confident they'll be ready for another rainy event.

"We did a good job at adjusting to the weather immediately last year," Gonzalez said. "And if the weather is bad again we will work with officials to do our best to continue all of the games."

The second day last year was interrupted by rainfall, forcing officials to shorten game lengths from 25 to 15 minutes and game points from 15 to 10 in order to determine a winner in every bracket.

Last year in the top men's division, two teams were crowned as champions.

Darling Paint is one of last year's winners that is back to defend its title. The lineup returns Bishop Timon-St. Jude graduates Fran Snyder and Nick Parisi and Riverside graduate Karl Rainey, a former Buffalo Stampede player. Karl's brother, Edmund, will replace Charlie Comerford from last year's team in Darling Paint's bid for a third straight championship.

"I think we've got a chance to win it again," Parisi said. "The team that we beat in the championship last year is in it again, so I'm sure they'll give us a run. But the competition is always good on the main court, so you never know. Anybody can win it."

With this year being Buffalo's 20th annual Gus Macker, it has become a traditional summer event along side Juneteenth, Taste of Buffalo and Chicken Wing festivals. Thousands of people come downtown every year to witness the action on the courts on the streets surrounding Niagara Square.

With more 950 teams and almost 4,000 players registered, Buffalo's tournament will continue its reign as the largest Gus Macker event in the country.

Buffalo Bills defensive back Terrence McGee and Toyota have joined the PAL as sponsors.

e-mail: mslaughter@buffnews.com

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