Foes will gun for Airmen

G. Sean Kelly
GSPI Sports Editor
Post Independent Photo/Kara K. Pearson

Everybody’s looking to shoot down the Airmen on Saturday.

But the Lost Planet Airmen, winners of the last two daylight Hoop d’Ville 3-on-3 basketball tournaments, look to jet through the competition again this year at the Shootout at Sayre Park.

“We’re planning on repeating. We’re planning on taking home the trophy,” said John Doose, who is joining fellow Glenwood Springs High graduates Mike Vidakovich and Jason Rand, and Basalt graduate Paul Caine on the Airmen.

Doose admitted, however, that the field is tough this year and includes a number of quality teams in what likely will turn out to be a field of around 20 squads.

“There are probably six or seven teams that can win it,” Doose said. “Usually there are two or three teams.”

And they will all be trying to knock off the Airmen, one of the oldest teams in the field.

“They are getting old. They’re ready to be put down,” joked tournament organizer Michael Picore, whose team downed the Airmen in the title game of last summer’s 4-on-4 night version of the tournament. “They are kind of the team to beat. The old Glenwood guys everybody wants to beat ” it kind of makes it fun.”

“Age is definitely the main thing facing the Lost Planet Airmen,” Vidakovich admitted.

Still, with age comes cunning and wisdom.

“We get better shots, man. It’s efficiency,” Doose said with a laugh. “And we all complement each other.

“The biggest key is to get good shots and don’t lose early.”

An early lose drops the team into the losers’ bracket, where the sun beating down on the hardcourts of Sayre Park can be the toughest foe of all.

Picore’s squad and the Squeegies out of Basalt are expected to compete for the title with the Airmen. There also are always surprise contenders and a team or two out of Grand Junction.

Although the competition is physical does get heated ” every team is there to earn bragging rights ” most players take part in the tournament for more than just the action on the court.

“It’s like a Glenwood reunion,” Doose said. “People from all over the community come and just say, ‘Hey.’ (People) who aren’t even playing come down to see everyone. That’s one of the beautiful things in Glenwood, stuff like that.”

“I think, for me, the most fun part of the day is just seeing all those guys who have played here in the valley for so long,” echoed Vidakovich. “It’s sort of like a miniature basketball reunion.”

The tournament starts at 8 a.m. Saturday, and a slam-dunk contest is scheduled for around noon. The championship game is expected to start at approximately 3 p.m. The $85-per-team registration fee includes a T-shirt and lunch from area businesses. The top six teams will win prizes, also from area businesses.

The tournament benefits Colorado Animal Rescue, YouthZone, Yaffee House and Glenwood Springs High School basketball.

Registration is limited. Call Michael Picore at 309-2911 for registration and information.

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