By Ted Waddell
LOCH SHELDRAKEApril 29, 2002 It was hoops galore this weekend, as 66 AAU basketball teams played 176 games in two days around the county. And thats a lot of blocks, buckets and dunks.
On Saturday, more than 900 players competed in the first round of the 8th Annual Sullivan Eagles Hoop Shoot Out. The games were hosted by several local high schools: Fallsburg, Liberty and Sullivan West/Jeffersonville-Youngsville. Games were also held at Daytop of Swan Lake and Parksville.
Participating AAU programs included: Orange County AAU, Burke Catholic Eagles, Empire State Wizards, Northern Dutchess Dukes, Edge Athletics, Lake Champlain Lakers, Orange County Eagles, Huntedon Crusaders (NJ), Omaras Panthers, Flatbush Youth, Rensselear County Raptors, Playaz Basketball (NJ), Mountain Basketball, Hopewell Hoopsters, Southern Tier Rage, Lehigh Valley Sting (PA), Hudson Valley Knights, Bayside Titans, Ballston Spa, Schenectady Basketball, Elmont Athletic Club, Tri-County AAU, Valley Basketball, Tri-Valley Basketball, Southern Fingerlakes, Spackenkill Spartans, Western Stars (CT), St. Pauls Crusaders, Cobra Enforcers, Chenango Vipers, Student Athletes, Madison Square Garden Broncos and DWI Basketball.
This season, the Sullivan Eagles didnt take to the floor in their own tournament due to pressing family commitments of the coaching staff.
The 2002 Sullivan Eagles Hoop Shoot Out was coordinated by Sullivan Eagles Coach Dean Smith and Assistant Coach Alan Goldstein.
I enjoy the crowds, the people and the coaches you see year-to-year, Goldstein said.
According to Smith, over the years the local AAU shoot out has grown from four teams to a whopping 66. This year, they had to turn away 30 prospective squads.
Nationwide AAU programs were originally sponsored by Sears Roebuck & Co. Today, AAU is backed by the folks from The House of the Mouse Disney World.
AAU does a lot for a kid, Smith said. It develops their skills and they make lifelong friendships. They learn something about cooperation and competition. Its a great program.
Championship games were played simultaneously Sunday afternoon on opposite sides of the SCCC gym.
At the final buzzer of the 13-and-under title shoot out, Milwaukee Bucks NBA great Tim Thomas Playaz Basketball defeated the Northern Dutchess Dukes 53-51 in a hard- fought game that went down to the wire.
In the 17-and-under championship game, the Sullivan Eagles perennial rivals the Madison Square Garden Broncos (6-0) defeated the St. Pauls Crusaders (3-3) of Long Island by a final score of 69-53.