City will host youth basketball tournament

Published: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 at 3:28 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 at 3:28 p.m.

Youth basketball fans in the Gainesville area will get a chance to see rising hoopsters from around the nation showcase their skills at the 2014 United States Specialty Sports Boys and Girls Association National Championship Tournament.



* What: The 2014 United States Specialty Sports Boys and Girls Association National Championship Tournament

* When: June 26-29

* Where: Gyms in Gainesville/Alachua County

* Cost: $5-$25

* Information: Call 352-338-0600.

David Stirt of Gainesville, an organizer of the event, said between 125 to 150 boys and girls youth basketball teams will gather in Gainesville for the tournament, which will be held June 26-29 at various sites around the city and county.

He said 21 basketball courts — including gyms at Eastside High School at 1201 SE 45th Terrace and the King Center at 1028 NE 14th St. — in Alachua County have been reserved for the tournament, which will feature third-grade through 12th-grade teams from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina and Texas.

Adult tournament passes will cost $25 and adult day passes will cost $10. Tournament passes for ages 6-17 will cost $10 and day passes will be $5.

Below are highlights of the tournament:

* June 26: 10 a.m.-5 p.m, Santa Fe College gym, 3000 NW 83rd St.: Preliminary round of a "Skills Competition" featuring dunk and three-point shooting contests; 11 a.m.-5 p.m., games will be played at various sites, and 7-9 p.m., opening ceremony and finals of the "Skills Competition" at SF College.

* June 27-28: 9 a.m.-8 p.m.: Games at various sites.

* June 29: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., championship games tentatively scheduled at Buchholz High School, 5510 NW 27th Ave.; Gainesville High School, 1900 NW 13th St.; Oak Hall School, 8009 SW 14th Ave.; St. Frances High School, 4100 NW 115th Terrace, and SF College.

A game-by-game schedule will be available on Tuesday at

The following Gainesville teams have qualified to play in the tournament:

* Boys: Gainesville Rockets fifth-grade team, Gainesville Stampede third- and seventh-grade teams, MBK Ballers seventh-grade team, Gainesville Thunderstruck and Motivator One eighth-grade teams, and the Nike Team Florida North 10th-grade team.

* Girls: Florida Lady Suns fifth- and eighth-grade teams.

Stirt said this is the first time Gainesville has hosted a USSSA basketball national championship tournament and it will feature some up and coming stars.

"The bulk of the teams coming will be younger teams, and not high school teams, but from what I've seen this season after traveling to a number of tournaments myself, there is an extremely high level of talented players in the seventh-, eighth- and ninth-grade levels who are going to become extremely good high school players," Stirt said.

The Gainesville Sports Commission will host the tournament, which is expected to attract more than 5,000 athletes, coaches and families to the Gainesville area.

Joleen Cacciatore, executive director of the commission, said residents and basketball fans should take advantage of the opportunity to cheer for local teams and see young talent from around the nation.

"Fans who come out to support this tournament will see our local players and players from around the nation compete at a high level," said Cacciatore, adding that the tournament is expected to add $1 million to the local economy over the four to five days visitors are expected to stay in the Gainesville area.

Pop Warner

Registration for Pop Warner cheerleading and football will be ongoing through July 31 or until team rosters are full.

And there is a discount if registration is completed by June 30. The registration cost for cheerleading is $35.50 for city residents and $60.50 for non-city residents. July 1 and afterward, the cost will be $45.50 for city residents and $70.50 for non-city residents.

The registration cost for football is $86 for city residents and $133 for non-city residents. On July 1 and afterward, the cost will be $96 for city residents and $143 for non-city residents.

A utility bill from Gainesville Regional Utilities or a voter registration card is required to prove city residency.

Registration forms can be picked up from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Thursday at the Thomas Center, Building B, Third Floor at 306 NE 6th Ave.

Children and teens who participate in both programs must fall within the age group on July 31. Also, a new "Unlimited Division" will be started for ages 11-14 in both programs. In football, players who are 105 pounds or heavier will be allowed to play in this division.

To complete the registration process, parents must complete a course with the Parent Association for Youth Sports, or P.A.Y.S.

Parents can do so online at, then choose the correct option. If you are taking the course for the first time, you must select "Option 1," then "Signup" and "Next." At that point, you will be at "Step 2" and should check "Yes" before selecting "Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs" in the "League/Agency" box that pops up. After that, proceed with the nearly 30-minute course.

Parents also must fill out and turn in several forms, including the 2014 Participant Contract and Parental Consent Form, 2014 Pop Warner Physical Fitness and Medical History Form, Putnam Athletic League Parent Code of Conduct Form, a copy of the child's birth certificate and report card and a signed media release form.

The first official day of practice will be Aug. 1, and all practices will be held at the King Center. The regular season will run from August through October.

For more information, call 352-334-5067 or visit

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