Hoop-It-Up brings back lot of games

June 11, 1994|By Lori Van Lonkhuyzen | Lori Van Lonkhuyzen,Sun Staff Writer

The Camden Yards parking lots have been transformed into the neighborhood playground.

The annual Hoop-It-Up three-on-three basketball tournament returns to Baltimore today and tomorrow, with more than 1,850 contestants vying for the title and a trip to the regional tournament in Washington.

Last year's men's champion, Foot Locker, returns two team members. Alex Watson, a former player at Mount St. Mary's, and Reggie Truitt, a former UMBC player, return in hopes to repeat last year's undefeated tournament.

"It's going to be tough to repeat," Watson said. "Saturday morning is the most important part. You have to get off to a good start Saturday."

Peace, last year's women's Top Gun champion, returns three players from last year. Bridget Blair, her younger sister, Vanessa, and Renee Dennis also will try for a repeat of last year's undefeated performance and another invitation to the regional tournament.

Bridget and Vanessa have stayed close to the game in the past year, practicing and coaching a 14-and-under AAU team in Largo.

"We've been practicing. We're pumped. We're ready to go," Bridget said. "We're going to go out there and do what we do best."

Last year, Peace defeated defending champion Foot Locker Three and can expect serious competition again this year. Bridget said the women on the two teams are friends, "but when you get on the court, it's different. I'm sorry."

Sometimes the elbows fly, she said, but "you can't stay mad."

Also competing this year is a team of two fathers and their sons. Ray Lehr and his son, Scott, and teammates Hector Torres and his son, Justin, will compete in the Recreation bracket as The Chiefs.

The team chose its name because Ray is an assistant fire chief and Hector is the public information officer for the Baltimore Fire Department.

Ray Lehr said The Chiefs have no lofty goals; they just want to have a good time.

"We just don't want to be embarrassed," Lehr said. "We're in, I guess, the fun category."

Other events taking place throughout today and tomorrow include free-throw-shooting contests, long-distance shootouts and dunk contests (on 10- and 9-foot hoops).

Hoop-It-Up donates a portion of the funds generated from team entries and activities to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and area high schools.

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