The annual Shoot for Christian 3-on-3 basketball tournament is back for its seventh installment and is set for March 16 at Nevada Union High School.
The all-day tournament was developed to honor the memory of Christian Craig and his love of basketball. He played in the Grass Valley rec basketball league, played Junior Miner football, was in Cub Scouts and was a member of the Union Hill track and field and cross country teams.
Christian was tragically killed in an automobile accident in 2006. He was just 12 years old.
“I like that we have been able to take a negative and turn it into a positive,” Christian’s father and tournament organizer Jason Craig said. “And I like that we could possibly have a positive effect on somebody’s life, and that part is great.”
Last year, the tournament raised $3,000, and Jason Craig said he expects to bring in more this year as the tournament continues to grow in participation. The money raised at the tournament is dispersed to the Nevada Union basketball program, as well as other local youth groups, said Jason Craig.
Through the seven years the tournament has been in existence, it has grown in size and evolved in nature.
The tournament started out as a free-throw and 3-point contest hosted at Union Hill Elementary School. The tournament is now a 3-on-3 competition that brought in 41 teams and more than 160 participants last year. Jason Craig said he expects more teams and competitors this year.
Nevada Union boys basketball head coach Jeff Dellis, who was happy to help bring the tournament to NU and has participated in a few of the earlier tournaments, said he won’t be lacing ’em up this year, but he will help in any way he can and possibly referee a few games.
“It’s a perfect community event,” Dellis said. “We are honored to be a part of it, our kids love to play in it, and it shows there is more to life than basketball.”
Registration is now open for teams that wish to compete in the tournament, and there are two ways to register. There are two in-person registration dates set up with the first one being from 11:45 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. today at NU in room J107. The second in-person registration is set for March 5 from 6 to 8 p.m at Round Table Pizza in Grass Valley. Registration can also be completed by filling out a registration form found at http://shootforchristian.com and mailing it to Christian Craig Memorial Fund P.O. Box 3342, Grass Valley, CA 95945.
The tournament is broken up into three divisions. Junior Division A is for players 10-12 years old, and the cost is $60 per team. Junior Division B is for players 13-15 years old, and the cost $60. Open Division C is for players 16 years and older and costs $100. Each team must have four players. The tournament runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will have a 3-point contest if time permits. The event will also have food provided by the NU booster club, a raffle and possibly a photographer to take team photos.
As the tournament continues to grow in size and longevity, Jason Craig said he doesn’t know exactly how long he and his wife, Jennifer, will continue to put it on.
“Each year when it comes time, we discuss it,” he said. “And each year we decide to put it on. It’s a great way to continue to honor Christian, and obviously, the cause is great.”
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.