Basketball: Tourney welcomes hoopsters to area

07:49 AM CDT on Friday, July 17, 2009

By Matthew Muench / Staff Writer

For the second straight week, the Denton area will host a major summer basketball tournament.

But unlike last weekend’s Great American Shootout, which only had boys at the high school level competing, the Denton Summer Shootout will have both girls and boys on the floor from grades 3 to 12.

About 175 teams are expected to compete at nine different high schools and middle schools all over the area.

“The Great American Shootout is a tremendous tournament and it may be one of the very best in the nation,” said tournament director Stephen Martin. “I go. I watch. But our tournament has a whole different reason for existence.”

Which is?

More teams. More players. All sizes. All genders.

“This tournament gives a lot of people a chance to play,” Martin said. “All ages, boy or girl, can play in the Denton Summer Shootout.”

Teams from all across Texas and Oklahoma will be running on the hardwood this weekend. A few teams from Arkansas will be in town and even a team from Miami, Fla., is making the trek.

“It is a great way for teams to play against competition they don’t normally get to play against,” Martin said. “It is a great opportunity.”

The DSS also runs its tournament differently from a financial standpoint.

High school booster clubs and athletic departments operate all the games.

“It is a fundraiser,” he said. “Each site that hosts events will make money. The money that comes into those gyms goes to those programs.”

Returning to the field this year is the Lady Raiders, a team comprised of Ryan players.

They are the defending champions in the girls 11th and 12th grade division, and open pool play against the Texas Twisters at 7 p.m. today at Ryan.

The varsity girls championship game will be played at 5 p.m. Sunday at Ryan.

No other area high schools will play as a team together in the girls division.

More area high school teams will showcase their talents in the boys 11th and 12th grade division. Ponder, Pilot Point, Argyle, Liberty Christian and Krum will each play.

All the games in the boys varsity division will be played at Argyle beginning today.

Argyle will face the Texas Lake View Chiefs at 7 p.m. Krum opens play against the Texas Stangs at 7 p.m., while Pilot Point will play San Antonio Elite at 7 p.m. Ponder first hits the floor at 8 p.m. against the Texarkana Bulls. Liberty starts action against the Oklahoma Hustlers at 9 p.m.

Bracket play begins Saturday evening and the championship game is at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Argyle.

It will not be a certified event like the GASO, so no Division I coaches will be in attendance. But smaller schools at the junior college and Division II levels will be courtside.

“There will be chances for kids to get looked at,” Martin said. “The reason no large schools will be there is because the tournament falls during the no-evaluation period for Division I schools.”

Tournament passes for the event are $15 for adults and $12 for students. Friday-only passes are $7 for adults and $6 for students, and Saturday or Sunday passes are $10 for adults and $9 for students.

MATTHEW MUENCH can be reached at 940-566-6869.