Hoopla brings sense of pride to community

Despite Mother Nature’s attempt to put a damper on the Pleasant Valley Hoopla basketball tournament, the 22nd annual event still went on as scheduled here Saturday at the Mini Park.

A total of five teams participated in the field, including a pair of local ones. JDS, which stands for the initials of the late 2011 FDSH graduate Jonathon David Spencer, topped Elite Pickup Squad from Des Moines in the championship game.

Players from Chicago, Cleveland, Indianapolis and Minneapolis also competed.

“Things went about how we planned, but five teams didn’t show up for one reason or another – most notably weather,” tournament director Mike Avery said. “There was about a two-hour rain delay, but I had (Fort Dodge Recreation administrator) Ryan Maehl on speed dial and he had me on speed dial.

“We kept in contact and he sent down some blowers to blow the court off. We also had a few neighbors and some other kids squeegee off the court. As soon as we got it cleared, the sun came out and we played without any more interruptions. There were a lot of spectators and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.”

In addition to the entertaining hoops action, several other festivities were held over the course of the weekend.

“(Former Dodger basketball all-stater and the late Antonio) Love’s family had a reunion, and on Friday we had some activities for the kids to help get them integrated into the Hoopla,” said Avery.

After another successful turnout this year, Avery sees a bright future ahead for the annual event.

“We plan on continuing this tournament going forward and are not going to let a few negative people hold us back,” Avery said. “This is a quality event that is picking up steam again without any distractions.”