Hoops heat up in 3-on-3 competition

August 17, 1997


Staff Writer

With the temperature gauge at Long Meadow Shopping Center reaching 105 degrees Saturday, the last thing you'd expect to see is hundreds of bodies sprinting, slashing, jumping and dunking in a celebration of basketball.

But that's exactly what happened.

More than 500 players from around the area 8 years old and up competed in the Triple Crown Sports 1997 World 3-on-3 Basketball Series, and most appeared to love every minute of it.

"I'm a fanatic," said sweat-drenched Justin Mellott, 9, of Hagerstown.

"I don't really care about the heat - it's just if I do good or not," he said.

He said he was having a great time and wasn't discouraged by his team's 1-2 record.

"Tomorrow we should do better," he said.

Cathy Widmyer of Williamsport brought a book but was having too much of a blast watching her husband and sons play to read it.


"I'll read on the way to the Orioles game," she said.

"We're going all the way," said her son Joey Widmyer, 15.

The top three teams from each division are invited to compete at the regional tournament in Scranton, Pa., Aug. 23-24.

Lauren Zapf, 15, had bragging rights for Most Insane Day. After scoring a goal in a soccer game Saturday morning in her hometown of Cumberland, Md., she made it to Hagerstown in time for the 3-on-3 sweatathon.

Zapf said she traveled last week to Cleveland to see a Women's National Basketball Association game between the Cleveland Rockers and the L.A. Sparks and would love to play in college.

Mary Kate Lenz, 15, of Urbana, Md., rationalized that the heat was actually a positive.

"If it's warm you don't pull muscles as much," she said.

Lenz said she hoped to one day play in the WNBA.

"It's just a lot of fun," she said.

Skip Chambers, the assistant basketball coach at St. Maria Goretti High School, was playing along with his sons, but another day would have been preferable.

"It's supposed to be the hottest day of the summer, isn't it?" he said.

"It's not too hot," said son Chip Chambers, 15. "We have a sub."

The Chambers family packed all the essentials - lawn chairs, lemonade, Gatorade and water.

"If you don't drink fluids you'll be in trouble fast," Skip said.

"We scoped out the shady spot early on," said June Winebrenner of Fairfield, Pa., who was busy reading a mystery titled "Double Dead" under the protective canopy of several shrubby trees.

Winebrenner said her son wasn't playing, or else she'd be watching.

"I'm a die-hard fan," she said.

Four teams competed from the Cedar Ridge Children's Home near Clear Spring.

"It's hot but you never give up," said William Jones, 13, of Cedar Ridge.

"We want to get them out in the community with activities. It's another way of building self esteem," said Dana Gonzales, 45, who works at the home.

Gonzales was also playing himself.

"I'm playing with the old guys," he said.

He said he'll be needing a hip replacement soon but loves the game too much.

Gonzales said working at the home for the past nine years has been a real blessing. He and his wife lost their only son at age 5, and they couldn't have any more children, he said. But the Lord has provided 120 other "sons" through the home, he said.

"He's just enlarged our family a whole lot more," he said.

Proceeds from the event benefit the Hagerstown YMCA, said Dan Cramer, president of Triple Crown.

The players will head once more into the heat today for a second day of competition.

The Herald-Mail Articles