PLATTSBURGH Twenty-four high school basketball teams from across the state will face off once again as the annual Olympic Center Holiday Hoopfest is held this December in Lake Placid. In an announcement made at Ninety Nine Restaurant Nov. 15, event founder Greg Waters declared the tournament, now in its fourth year, will be held at the Lake Placid Olympic Center Wednesday, Dec. 26, and Thursday, Dec. 27. During the past three years, more than 750 high school athletes have had the opportunity to compete on the court at the historic Olympic Center, said Mr. Waters, who also serves as the girls basketball coach at Beekmantown. The event, he said, has also become the premiere womens high school basketball tournament in the state, and continues to draw teams from many areas outside Clinton County, many of whom are already expressing interest in participating next year. In three years, the Hoopfest has experienced great success, on the court and off the court, said Mr. Waters. The success of the Hoopfest on the court is all about the team effort off the court. It starts with the corporate sponsorship of our sponsors, Primelink, Coca Cola, Burger King, Fesette Realty, Glens Falls National Bank, North Country Community College and Paul Smiths College. It spills over to 40 advertising sponsors, continuing their generosity by contributing to our Hoopfest event. Through further support of the Olympic Regional Development Authority, which oversees the operation of the Olympic Center, the event has the privilege of being held year after year at the site of the 1980 Winter Olympics, said Mr. Waters. PrimeLink president Greg MacConnell, who served as one of the authors of the training center proposal which resulted in the formation of ORDA, stated he was particularly proud of the tournaments ability to put the facility to the use for which it was intended. Events such as the Holiday Hoopfest, which provides cross-utilization in this great facility, is exactly the kind of thing we had in mind, said Mr. MacConnell. As a local business, we take a great deal of pride into the sports arena we have and the sports facilities we have available to us in the North Country. Certainly, in Lake Placid, the Olympic arena is one of the finest facilities anywhere, not to mention the North Country. Hoopfest certainly brings together the best of holiday basketball action, and it certainly provides beneficial support for a very worthy cause. The cause which brings players, coaches, officials and spectators together is the FitzPatrick Cancer Center at CVPH Medical Center in Plattsburgh. Since the tournaments modest inception in 2004, the event has raised $18,000 for the facility, an amount FitzPatrick Cancer Center director Shawn Rogers said is very appreciated. When Greg [Waters] came to me a few years ago and told me what he wanted to do, I was probably a little worried about how he was going to pull all this off, said Mr. Rogers. He told me he had never done this before ... this first year was a relatively small tournament, but what that was able to provide for the cancer center was just phenomenal. Proceeds from the inaugural tournament allowed the center to purchase treatment software for radiation therapy, allowing for more advanced cancer treatment techniques for the region, said Mr. Rogers, reducing side effects for many of the roughly 100 patients who walk through the centers doors on a daily basis. What youre able to give back to help those patients and help the community, is a great opportunity and we really thank you for doing that, Mr. Rogers said. The current line-up for Dec. 26 is as follows: Keene vs. Lake Placid girls, 1 p.m.; Westport vs. Plattsburgh girls, 2:40 p.m.; Schroon Lake vs. Beekmantown girls, 4:20 p.m.; Tupper Lake vs. Saranac Lake boys, 6 p.m.; and Hudson Falls vs. Beekmantown boys, 7:40 p.m. On Dec. 27, teams competing include: Keene vs. Gilboa boys, 10 a.m.; Massapequa vs. Massena girls, 11:40 a.m.; Ward Melville vs. Northeastern Clinton Central girls, 1:20 p.m.; Bethpage vs. Saranac girls, 3 p.m.; Tuxedo vs. Ausable girls, 4:40 p.m.; New Hartford vs. Peru girls, 6:20 p.m.; and Saranac Lake vs. Seton girls, 8 p.m. In addition to games being played at the Olympic Center, high schools in Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Keene and Ausable will host 14 additional games, helping to round out the post-Christmas play. Olympic Center Holiday Hoopfest tickets, at a cost of $5 each, may be purchased at the FitzPatrick Cancer Center, from Mr. Waters by calling 572-0927, or from participating teams. For more information, visit
. In addition to corporate and individual sponsors of the event, Mr. Waters thanked Best Western Golden Arrow Hotel, The Crowne Plaza Resort and the Courtyard by Marriott Lake Placid, who have all provided significant reductions in room fees for visiting teams.