The annual Haggen Family Fourth of July celebration welcomed Hoop It Up this year, as more than 50 teams participated in an afternoon of sunny 3-on-3 basketball.
The four half-courts were packed as 15-minute games of continuous play by FIBA rules kept everyone on their toes. The turnover was fast and the final game was the adult men’s competitive division, won by the Foster Group Realty team.
“It’s been a while since we have had something like this here,” said David Seversen, the winning team captain. “I hope we can keep up the healthy tradition.”
Hoop It Up was added to the annual Haggen celebration as a new family-oriented component that would interest the community, said Beccy Cafarella. This is her third year organizing the celebration and it was the most relaxing year yet, Cafarella said as she watched the final teams playing on the courts.
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The competition was strong, Seversen said. He has been playing basketball since grade school and after graduating from Squalicum High School in 2002 played at Northwest Indian College for a season.
Since then, he has played on local men’s leagues and his team was sponsored by Foster Group Realty to play in Hoop It Up.
“I look forward to this day,” Cafarella said. “It is a long one, but it has always been fun.”
The first champion team to finish up was a group of seniors from Ferndale High School on the team No Blood No Foul. The four of them also play together for the Golden Eagles.
“It feels good to win a new tournament,” Austin Honeycutt said.
The goal was to come out and play basketball and win, which is exactly what happened, said Garett Holmes, Honeycutt’s teammate.
During the tournament, festivities were in full swing with games and food available at every corner of the park. A new stage was placed in the field and local bands came on as openers for the National Guard Marching Band, who began at 8:30 p.m. and played throughout the fireworks display.
“It’s been a really good day,” Eric Berkeley said. “It has been a relaxing and fun day for everyone. We’re all in good moods.”
Berkeley has been managing Hoop It Up events for 15 years, traveling all over the United States from March to September.
“We try to cater to what is going on in the city at the time,” he said.
The 50 teams who played this year did not max capacity for the Hoop It Up team, who are used to running one or two-day events similar to this one, but with 150 teams each day.
The Port of Bellingham, Haggen and the Bellingham Chamber of Commerce organize the celebration every year and were happy with the introduction of Hoop It Up and the crowd it brought during the morning and early afternoon, said chamber executive and event coordinator Marvin Riggs.
“We wanted to keep it fresh, like Haggen Northwest Fresh,” Riggs said with a smile.
Hoop It Up Division Champions
JLE Sports Splash Sisters
Uncle Sam’s Posse
High School Men
No Blood No Foul
Foster Group Realty