Ronan High School girl’s basketball coach Steve Woll has seen an evolution of the landscape of 3-on-3 hoops.
Woll, who is involved with the 8th annual 3-on-3 “Battle In the Bay” July 7 at Big Fork, has seen the 3-on-3 tournament over the years.
“I don’t know if 3-on-3 is growing any more, but (the format) is old enough it’s just out there,” Woll said. “Lots of (areas) really try to mimic the stuff in their own towns. There are mainstays in Polson, Ronan, Missoula and Great Falls.”
Spokane, who hosts the largest 3-on-3 tournament format with over 7,000 teams, has inspired communities such as Bigfork, Plains, Coeur De Lane, and the kids
“There are a lot of people that want to live active lifestyles,” Woll said.
Of approximately 119 or 120 teams that participate in the Big Fork tournament, the majority of the contestants come from out of town and all over the Mission Valley, according to Woll.
“I think social media helps because the biggest one in the world is in Spokane and everyone else has branched out from that,” Woll said. “I’ve been to ones in Seattle, Bellingham, Missoula and what has really helped grow the popularity is the family fun event that promotes healthy lifestyles and being positive.”
What has also increased the popularity of the 3-on-3 tournaments is the wide variety of ages that continue to participate in the event.
“We have kids (participating) from young to old,” Woll said. “Some of the best players in the valley or in the state lace up their sneakers, come out and compete. We even have some of the biggest names in college players and ex-college players. It’s pretty neat to see what celebrities are going to show up next.”
Some of the Valley’s most decorated players have participated in the 3-on-3 tournament including Howard Walker, JR Camel, DJ Fish and Eddie Running Rabbit.
The local 3-on-3 tournaments Utah Utes’ coach Larry Krystokowiak along with former and current players from the University of Montana Griz and Lady Griz and several other accomplished area players were participants in previous events.
The list attracts a lot of basketball fans as well as players throughout the state.
“We have a lot of people that love basketball and love to watch, follow, and play,” Woll said. “We have people that just love the game and you get to see a lot of the same faces in different towns. It is great to see a lot of these people at various tournaments.”