The Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament will be held earlier this year, as it stays on Grand Island for the second year in a row.
The tournament, which will be held June 4 and 5, will be played in front of Grand Island Town Hall, on the Grand Island Boulevard side, organizers announced Tuesday. Once again, the championship game will be held on the “Dream Court,” in the town hall parking lot.
The event, which had been held in Buffalo for 22 years and traditionally took place in late June or July, saw decreased participation last year, when it was held in August. Organizers from Corey McGowan Productions previously pegged the drop last year to the event’s late-summer timing.
“Guys are playing football or are back in college,” McGowan said Tuesday. “Now it’s back in June, when the Gus Macker traditionally was held.”
The Gus Macker had been a fixture in downtown Buffalo for 22 years, as a fundraiser for the Buffalo Police Athletic League. Organizers said costs had grown to be too much, but some critics argued there was a racial component behind the move.
The tournament then moved to Darien Lake for one year, before heading to Grand Island in 2015.
“Last year, the main goal basically was to save the Gus Macker, to re-establish its roots in Western New York by bringing it to Grand Island,” McGowan said. “Now the goal is to grow the tournament.”
That goal is to draw between 350 and 400 teams this year, compared to about 280 last year.
Registration, which is $140 per team, ends on May 16. Registration can be done online at macker.com/local/buffalo-grand-island-ny.
There are female and male divisions in three categories – junior, adult and top. Placement is based on age, height and experience of all four team members.
Each team will play at least three games in the double-elimination tournament. Those who lose their first two play in the “Toilet Bowl.”
Organizers have cited the added fan experiences, for both players and spectators, including a free-throw contest and a three-point shootout at this year’s tournament that are open to the public at a cost of $5 per event. There will also be a “Little Gus” shot clock event for $2. McGowan also mentioned the “half-court heaves,” a dunk tank, food trucks and a Kids Zone with a petting zoo, rides and games.
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