The 2013 Walla Walla YMCA Peach Basket Classic — the 20th edition of the downtown three-on-three street basketball tournament — was as smooth as a 24-foot jump shot that hits nothin’ but net.
The weather was hovering in the low 90s but not s scorching hot (as it has been on a few occasions). It was magnificent.
But even more incredible was the job done by a throng of volunteers.
The hard work started months ago with planning by the PBC tournament co-directors, Scott Adams and Pat McConn. The 100 or so volunteers were organized and given assignments. The sponsors were contacted and the logistics were worked out.
On Friday night inmate crews from the Washington State Penitentiary (with professional supervision, of course) assembled the hoops manufactured by Correctional Industries. Volunteers were there helping with getting the baskets in place on the 33 courts as well as taping the court lines — in some cases twice. The Friday night rain washed away some of the night’s work so a few lines had to be redone Saturday morning.
The event drew 262 teams (more than 1,000 participants) in 31 separate brackets. Many of the teams were local but a large number came from throughout Washington state and the Pacific Northwest. For some out-of-towners, the event is a chance to come back to the city that was once home and hang with old friends and family.
The location, the second year the Classic was hosted west of Second Avenue, has grown into a very nice fit for the tournament. The organizers of the event did a fantastic job creating an environment that was crowded yet comfortable. And the participants, as well as the fans who came to cheer them on, settled in to the new areas figuring out the best places to watch the contests and camp out between games.
The streets were kept clean by our local roller derby players, the Walla Walla Sweets Rollergirls, who patrolled downtown in pairs armed with buckets, brushes and brooms.
The downtown merchants, on both sides of Second, seemed to have a lot of customers in their stores or shopping the sidewalk sales. The food vendors at the site had lines and the restaurants in the area seemed to be busy.
The PBC is not the largest in the Northwest — that honor easily goes to Spokane’s Hoopfest — but it is nevertheless an event that hundreds look forward to each year.
This year’s PBC was indeed classic.