Basketball tournament crowns new champion
The Fightin’ Whities had game.
The four-person team of Michael Picore, Chris Hoffmeister, Judah Legg and Jess Wesley powered their way to the annual G-Wood Great Balls of Fire 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament championship by going unbeaten in four games.
The Glenwood Springs-based team defeated the Squeegees, a three-person team of former Basalt High players, Michael Palmer and brothers David and Jack Lutzeier in the championship game.
The win was especially sweet for Picore, who’s also the tournament’s director.
His teams have finished in second-place for two years.
Twenty-one teams, the largest number in the event’s history, participated in the double-elimination tournament.
The tournament was held at the outside asphalt courts in Sayre Park.
The event brought together local hoop legends from a number of eras.
Notable players included former Glenwood Springs High School stars Kevin Flohr, Mike Vidakovich, Rich Chavez. Mesa State College Hall-of-Famer Paul Cain made his annual appearance at the tournament, along with former Rifle High basketball coach Roger Walters.
And that list barely scratched the surface of basketball talent who were part of the scene on Saturday.
Ex-Glenwood Springs Demons Andy Ormsby and Timon Fish played on other teams. Another recently graduated prep star, 6-foot, 7-inch Carl Day, who played at Rifle High School won the slam dunk contest.
And the action on Sayre’s two courts grew hotter as the temperature rose during the day.
By midday, the elite units among the 21 starting teams had come forward.
But, the Fightin’ Whities held off every challenge.
They defeated the Lost Planets in a winners’ bracket semifinal contest to reach the championship game.
The loss forced the Lost Planets, one of the pre-tournament favorites, into an elimination game against the Squeegees.
The Planets, whose roster boasted Vidakovich, Cain, John Doose and Rich Chavez fell short to the younger, fresher-legged team from Basalt, 31-20.
The victory put the Squeegees in the championship game against the Fightin’ Whities. But, they had a big obstacle in front of them in their quest for the championship.
They had to beat the Fightin’ Whities twice.
Hoffmeister’s quickness and ball-handing skills as the Fightin’ Whities point guard, combined with Legg’s bulk was too much to overcome.
“The game went back-and-forth and the Squeegees were tough,” Picore said of the championship game.
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