Local business owner Matt Richards has always loved basketball, and he’s wanted to put together basketball tournaments since he was a teenager.
“I’ve always wanted to do it," Richards said. "When I was 16, I put one together at Mead Park. I made flyers and handed them out and put them around town. We had a grill and grilled hot dogs and three teams signed up."
On Saturday, Richards will hold a 3x3 basketball tournament on North Center Street beginning at 8 a.m. The game 3x3 basketball (pronounced three-ex-three) is a variation of basketball played three per side, with one backboard in a half-court setup.
Richards received permission from the city of Corry and PennDOT to close North Center Street from Washington Street to the railroad tracks for the tournament.
“I have the street closed until 6 p.m., but this being the first year, I don’t think we will have enough teams to push it that late,” Richards said. “I imagine we will be done by 3 or 4 p.m. that day, but who knows. People could surprise me by registering last minute.”
For Richards, the tournament has been a long time coming.
“I’ve been trying to do it for four years now, and every year something affected it from happening, whether it was insurance or I didn’t get the request turned in to the city soon enough, then COVID,” Richards explained. “This year we have everything in. There have been hiccups but I’ve been working through them, and now it’s finally happening.”
Ten basketball hoops will be placed back-to-back down the center of the street. Ploss’ Lunchbox is providing lunch for the players and will have food for sale for spectators. Augie’s Pizza will also be open for people to purchase pizza by-the-slice and other menu items.
Some teams have already registered but Richards plans to keep his shop — Deluxe Barber — open late on Friday during downtown Corry’s First Fridays event, so more teams have the opportunity to sign up.
“I’ll be here from 6 to 9 p.m. for teams to register and to sign their team in,” Richards said.
For those interested, the cost to play is $25 per person, and teams must have at least three players and no more than four, one sub to rotate in and out. Age brackets are 8 to 10, 11 to 14, 15 to 17, and 18 and over for both men and women.
When teams sign in, each person will receive a wristband and two tickets. One ticket is for a free lunch from Ploss’ Lunchbox and the other is for a free round in the shooting contest.
Teams that are registered can also sign in and get their wristbands and tickets on Saturday morning from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m.
Richards will make announcements and go over the rules at 7:30 a.m., and the tournament will begin at 8 a.m.
Each court will have a court monitor to keep the peace, and all courts but the 18 and over bracket will be an honors system of call your own foul.
The 18 and over bracket will be refereed by licensed referees from the state of New York who are donating their time.
The winning team from each bracket will receive trophies and the opportunity to choose a local nonprofit to donate money from the tournament. Some of the proceeds will be put toward next year’s tournament, as Richards would like to hold the competition annually.
“Whatever remaining cash we have will be put into an account to help make the tournament better for next year. Each winning team will get to choose a local non-profit from a list I have to donate money to, and I’ll donate it in their names.”
“If we have time, we will do a slam-dunk contest on a 9-foot hoop, something that people can actually dunk on,” Richards added.
Three-ex-three basketball made its Olympic debut this summer in Tokyo, but it’s nothing new for Richards.
“I’ve played in other local three-ex-three games in the streets and I like the idea of it,” Richards said. “It’s great bringing everyone together to support the game of basketball.
“I enjoy it being on the street because when a team isn’t playing, what are they going to do? They’re going to go check out the stores. Spectators will be going in all the shops. So it gets people downtown and into local businesses. People who might not have been here for a while will get to see what we’re doing in Corry.”
But Richards admits his love of the sport is what drives him.
"A lot of it is giving downtown Corry some exposure, but I love the game of basketball. I really enjoy it and three-ex-three is just a fun game to watch. It’s a fun form of basketball.”
For more information, Richards can be found at Deluxe Barber, 46 N. Center St., during regular hours, or by calling 814-964-8247.