Copper State Jam, Part Ii This Weekend


Local basketball fan Jack Sheahan calls it "the best bargain in town."

For an admission of just $2, there is a belly-full of good eats, some great basketball and ample opportunities to celebrity watch.

Jack is referring to the Copper State Jam youth boys basketball tournament which is in only its second year of existence in the Rim country.

During its inaugural year, it was held in one session but due to overwhelming popularity, tournament directors Steve and Marlow Rensch expanded it to two sessions for 2000.

The first tournament, for schools with less than 300 students, was held Jan. 21 to 23, in Tonto Apache reservation gymnasium.

The next session, for larger schools including Rim Country Middle, will be held Feb. 4 to 6 also in the Tonto Apache gymnasium.

Teams from Tucson, Phoenix, Lake Havasu and as far away as Las Vegas, Nev. and New Mexico have entered. If the upcoming tournament is as action-packed as the first, local hoop fans are in for a treat.

Highlighting the tournament was a championship finale which pitted a pair of Tucson schools -- Grace Christian and St. Joseph's -- against one another.

St. Joseph's entered the finale having pulled a 36-31 upset over Grace earlier in the tournament. After battling back through the loser's bracket, Grace took revenge in the gold-medal game whipping St. Joseph's 43-33.

About Grace, Rensch said, "at their best, they looked like a big Princeton (team), with all those back side screens and lay ups. They were well-coached and disciplined."

The championship game and several earlier ones were taken in by former NBA stars Tom Chambers and Connie Hawkins. Both were a big hit with the crowd.

Certain to go down in the annals of the tournament will be a half-court shot Sunday night that was worth $100 in prize money to a lucky spectator.

A woman from Kaibeto tried Saturday but missed the shot.

Sunday evening at half-time, another man was picked and given the opportunity to shoot three shots himself or allow Tom, Connie and referee Lee Bradley to launch the attempts.

He chose the latter and all missed although Connie got the front rim.

Steve Rensch tells the rest of the story.

"So we picked another name -- Andrew Coffee, a good player from West Sedona. He was given the same choice (as the earlier man) and chose to shoot himself despite Connie's trash talk 'I almost made it.' Andrew responded, 'I'm going to make it.'

"His (Andrew) first two shots missed badly. The third one banked in and the place went wild."

The tournament begins with first round games at 10 a.m. Friday morning. The championship game is on tap for 6 p.m. Sunday.


In the Jan. 25 edition of the Payson Roundup we reported that Dustin Attebury had quit the Payson High School wrestling team. That is incorrect, Dustin remains with the team but has not participated in recent matches due to a hyper-extended elbow.

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