QUINCY — Brisk temperatures Saturday morning didn’t stop the crowds from coming out for the 30th Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament.
Tournament founder Scott “Gus” McNeal said he was impressed by the turnout of both players and crowd in Washington Park.
“The crowd looks huge,” McNeal said. “It’s a little colder than usual. But getting going this morning, it seems like everyone’s really excited.”
The Quincy event was the first Gus Macker since all of the events were cancelled last year. The tournaments haven’t happened for nearly two years now, and the Quincy Exchange Club was cautious when planning for the Quincy event. To try and keep the crowd numbers under control, registrations were limited to 300 teams.
“They capped it a little late because registrations were coming in so fast,” McNeal said. “When they put the cap on it, I think some folks figured it was already filled up. It turned out really well, but we’re just shy of 300 teams.”
Danya Artimisi brought her daughter to Quincy to play with MDK, a team from St. Louis. She said just seeing the Macker name brought back memories from her own playing days.
“I used to play at these when I was in high school, they had it in Peoria,” Artimisi said. “I’d forgotten about it, and when I saw it was going to be here, I signed up a team for my daughter.”
Artimisi said she would like to see a Macker event a little closer to home for her.
“I wish they’d do this in St. Louis,” she said. “There are some great places they could hold it there.”
McNeal said comments like Artimisi’s are a common theme he’s heard since he’s been in town.
“There’s a lot of nostalgia,” he said. “A lot of people saying ‘I remember when,’ and ‘thank you for bringing it back one more time.’”
A lot of concern was still being discussed around the courts that this would be the last Macker in Quincy. The Quincy Exchange Club announced in 2017 that they would be wrapping up playing host following the 2020 event. When the tournament was cancelled last year, they stuck around to bring the 30th anniversary event to town.
McNeal said the talk about Quincy being removed from the Macker calendar is a bit premature.
“Our hope is that some group will step up,” he said. “Whether it plays downtown or not, that might be a challenge. Someone brought up playing down by the river, and that would be unbelievable.
“So our hope is we’ll be back, but we don’t have anything official yet,” he added.
Gus Maker played initial rounds on Saturday throughout the day, with the final rounds on Sunday along with the slam dunk contest.