HELENA – The Helena Chamber of Commerce threw their annual “SWISH” basketball tournament over the weekend. Elementary through high school students to from all over the state all competed for the 22nd annual event.
This year the Chamber had over 120 teams with 1,080 players and coaches involved. A crowd of over 1,000 people watched and cheered on the basketball players.
Over the two days that the tournament took place; over 250 games were played on 13 different basketball courts.
Each participating team was guaranteed four games.
Each court was sponsored by a different business. Each business was responsible for supplying volunteers to set up and man each gym during the games. The Chamber reported over 300 volunteers helped with the event.
Each of the gyms was open from around 7:15 a.m. to 6 p.m. so many of the volunteers worked long hours. Cathy Burwell, the CEO and President of the Helena Chamber said without the volunteers the event wouldn’t be possible.
Mark Meredith attended to watch his 10-year-old son, Kellen, play. Kellen was on the Montana City Mustangs team.
“It’s fun to watch these kids as they grow, and how they start to pick it up. They also learn the fundamentals leading up to success. These tournaments are great it’s fun to see the kids enjoy themselves, and the camaraderie benefits the Helena Chamber and it’s a great event all around for the city of Helena.”
The Chamber estimated the total economic impact of the tournament to be about a $750,000.
With such a large number of people coming from all over the state, many had to eat out for every meal. There was also a lot of down time between games so some of the visitors would shop, according to Burwell. In the past Burwell said, “We’ve even heard reports of people who bought a car”.
Of the winners, four Local teams took home Championship Gold Medals.
In all, 280 medals were awarded to first and second place teams in the tournament. 140 first place gold and 140 second place silver.
“Thanks for all that you do to make Swish go…it is my favorite tourney in the state and we have played almost everywhere,” said Sean Maharg, Assistant Special Education Administrator for the Helena Public Schools and SWISH coach.
Below is a list of the division winners:
3rd and 4th Boys – Mt City Mustangs
3rd and 4th Girls – Missoula Lightning
5th Boys – Bozeman Sonics
5th Girls – Billings Shockers
6th Boys Green Pool – Lewistown Hawks
6th Boys Red Pool – Butte Splash
6th Girls – Gt Falls SWISH
7th Boys Green Pool – Hi-Line Outlaws
7th Boys Red Pool – Billings Bulldawgs
7th Girls – Helena Hericanes
8th Boys Green Pool – Havre JYD
8th Boys Red Pool – Frenchtown Broncs
8th Girls Green Pool – Helena Lady Bengals
8th Girls Red Pool – Helena Fever
To visit the chamber website click here.