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Youth basketball: Shoot-Out is almost here

WORTHINGTON -- It started, more than 30 years ago, as a two-day event. Boys and girls bounced basketballs all over Worthington in a youth basketball tournament called the "Shoot-Out."Today it's a one-day Saturday event. Boys only. And it brings s...

 

WORTHINGTON - It started, more than 30 years ago, as a two-day event. Boys and girls bounced basketballs all over Worthington in a youth basketball tournament called the “Shoot-Out.”
Today it’s a one-day Saturday event. Boys only. And it brings something like a mini-March madness to town.
The 31st annual Wild Turkey Shoot-Out arrives in Worthington on Saturday, and this year it will feature 54 teams and more than 400 players. Nine gymnasiums will hear the bouncing of basketballs, whistles and cheers all day long.
“I still think it’s an unbelievable event,” said tournament director Nicholas Raymo on Thursday.
“It’s an opportunity to show off Worthington. We love to see all the out-of-town plates and show everybody how great Worthington is.”
Raymo played in the Shoot-Out himself as a sixth-grader and he still remembers how much fun he had.
“We couldn’t wait to get our T-shirts from Center Sports and get our names on the back and be the home-town boys,” he said.
The tournament consists of boys between fourth and ninth grades. There is one division of fourth- and fitth-graders, two divisions of 6-8, and one ninth-grade division.
Teams are coming from as far away as Mankato, Watertown, S.D., and Sioux City, Iowa.
Raymo said Worthington’s Sports and Recreation Committee, a division of the Worthington Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, begins planning for each Shoot-Out early, as much as seven to eight months before the actual event.
Volunteers are crucial. Each year, they serve as referees, scorekeepers, timekeepers, ticket takers and concession stand workers. Area youth groups get involved as well.
Raymo said that although the tournament has changed somewhat over the years, the players have changed, too. As a group, they appear stronger and better defined than they did decades earlier. And teams, he said, are better organized.
The tournament, too, gets better and better.
“The one thing we always see is the quality of the tournament. And that’s why people keep coming back to it,” said Raymo.

Doug Wolter joined the Worthington Globe in December of 1983 as a sports reporter. He later became sports editor, and then news editor and managing editor. In 2006 he moved to Mankato with his wife, Sandy, and served as an editor at the Mankato Free Press. In 2013 he and Sandy returned to Worthington to take up the job of sports editor at The Globe, and they have been in Worthington since.

Doug can be reached at dwolter@dglobe.com.
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