Nearly 400 people descended on Superior Schools last weekend to participate in the Annual Superior Hoop Shoot. A basketball competition for grades third through eight comprised of three divisions: third and fourth; fifth and sixth; seventh and eighth.
The Clark Fork Mountain Cats third- and fourth-grader divisions were reigning champions after two days of play. Both the boys’ and girls’ won in that division. The Mountain Cat boys also won the championship game in the fifth- and sixth-grade division. The fifth- and sixth-grade girls’ winners’ bracket went to Ronan.
The Ronan seventh- and eighth-grade boys also won top honors, while the Florence girls won in the seventh- and eighth-grade division.
The teams played the championship games on Sunday evening with single elimination games held all day. Saturday, March 30, each team played two games with two courts in the high school gym and one in the elementary gym.
The tournament was started by Superior teacher Jeff Schultz five years ago, and this is the largest pool of teams he’s had to-date. Teams came from all over the region, including Plains, Thompson Falls, Frenchtown, Browning, Wallace (Idaho), Charlo, Ronan, and of course, Mineral County.
Schultz started it because as a coach for youth teams, there weren’t any tournaments for the smaller teams, “I was tired of taking my players to larger schools to play against,” he said. This tournament is focused on B and C schools, though it is open to larger schools.
“It’s also a great tournament for the community. It brings hundreds of people to town for the weekend which helps motels, restaurants and stores,” Schultz said. He is also thankful for the support he gets from Superior School’s administration.
Superior and Alberton high school basketball girls help run the tournament. It’s a way for the schools’ co-op, the Mountain Cats, to earn money for summer basketball camps, including a week at Gonzaga University. The girls work concessions, sell T-shirts and help with other details it takes to run the tournament. This year for the first time Resa Briscoe and Connie Dove, the cooks for Alberton School, helped with concessions as well.
Also included in the tournament crew are Schultz’s mother Ev, who is Superior’s administrative assistant, and his father, Jim. Jeff, his folks, and many of the Superior basketball players were running on adrenaline during the tournament weekend. They had just stepped off the plane from a week in Italy as part of Jeff’s World History class he taught all year.
“It will be a rough weekend, but it will be worth it,” he said last week before the trip.