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Former Spartans returning for tourney

The winner of Saturday’s Dribble Over Drugs slam dunk contest will receive this championship belt with a similar belt going to the winner of the 3-point shooting contest.

By DARRELL SMITH - dsmith@newsexaminer.com

Dribble Over Drugs is much more than a three-on-three basketball tournament: It is an opportunity to use sport for the community to help people in addiction find hope.

Dribble Over Drugs III: The Takeover is Saturday at Roberts Park basketball courts starting at 9 a.m., weather permitting.

One of the founding organizers, Sheriff Joey Laughlin, said 35 teams are registered to participate with more expected to sign up Saturday. He’s hoping for at least 40. The 2018 tourney had 39 teams.

“I always worry because the weeks leading up to it always seem like not many teams are signing up but each week it gets closer, the buzz picks up,” he said. “Then you hear that this person is playing and this person is playing. Some of the people coming to play, there are some recognizable basketball names on the list.”

The tournament includes teams of three men, three women, veterans aged 35 and older, and boys 13-15. There are 19 teams of men, seven of women, seven of veterans and three of boys.

Laughlin hinted that past Connersville High School standouts will be in town for the tournament.

“I can’t say anything more, but I know Spartan basketball fans will want to be there,” Laughlin said. “There will be a few rosters with players that people have not seen play in quite some time. Spartan fans will be pleasantly surprised by who is there.”

Adding to the fun will be a 3-point shooting contest and a dunk contest.

The 3-point shooting is limited to 20 contestants and those slots have been filled, he said. The first round will eliminate 12 shooters and a secondround takes it down to three. They will have a shoot-out for the top award, he explained.

The dunk contest has three invited players and maybe another participant. They will do three dunks each while being judged by a panel of five, he said.

“Both the winner of the 3-point contest and the dunk contest will get custom-made championship belts,” Laughlin said. “That’s something new we added as a special prize.”

Several groups will have booths.

The House of Ruth residential home for women recovering from addiction will be present. Gary and Jamie Naylor will have a booth to talk about overdose statistics. They lost a son to addiction.

Ivy Tech Community College and Courageous Rescue, a group that helps rescue pets and place them in adoptive homes, will have booth.

Connersville Jaycees are providing a bouncehouse.

Five food vendors will be there including, BBQ King from Richmond. Franco’s Ice Cream, Crosspointe Biker Church, Western Avenue Baptist Church and Faith Builders Ministries. 

There will be a raffle with a hat signed by the Pacers’ Domantas Sabonis and two bigger items. Several gifts will be available as well, he said.

Proceeds from the event will go to the House of Ruth, Brianna’s Hope, Betterdayz Thru Jesus Christ and a program being planned for this fall with a person coming in a Batmobile to talk to kids about staying off drugs, Laughlin said. Funding will also go to Red Ribbon Week and to the Connersville Parks and Recreation Department’s Charles Lucas fund for children who cannot afford sports program registration.