By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
March Magic Hoopfest will return to Jenison Field House for this weekend’s Michigan High School Athletic Association Boys Basketball Finals, marking the eighth championship weekend the event has run concurrent with the games being played at Michigan State University’s Breslin Center.
A number of favorite attractions will return including slam dunk (on lowered rims), 3-point shootout and half-court shot areas where fans can come at any time and participate, and the festivities also will include a court for timed “Around the World” shooting games and another court featuring the Michigan Army National Guard skills challenge. Also returning is the Walk of History, showcasing championship games, life-size photos and display boards from throughout the MHSAA Finals’ near century-long run.
Two Hoopfest center courts will host a number of games throughout the event, including the “JumpBall Jamboree” made up of teams of boys and girls in grades 3-8, and a series of games between Special Olympics Project UNIFY high school teams.
Admission to the March Magic Hoopfest is $2 per person, and fans attending the MHSAA Boys Basketball Semifinals and Finals will be admitted free with their game tickets. Hours on March 23 and 24 will be 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.; the event is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on March 25. Jenison Field House, site of Hoopfest, also was the site of the MHSAA Boys Basketball Finals for 31 years. To find out more general information about the event, visit the March Magic Hoopfest Website.
Hoopfest also will be home to Hoopie, the event’s mascot who made his first public appearances during the 2014 MHSAA Finals.
The March Magic Hoopfest is being conducted in partnership between the Greater Lansing Sports Authority (GLSA), a division of the Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the MHSAA, with vital support coming from the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics at Michigan State University.
“For more than 90 years, basketball teams have ended their seasons at the MHSAA Tournament, and Hoopfest allows fans to share first-hand in the atmosphere that has made this such a historic event,” MHSAA Director of Brand Management Andy Frushour said. “It’s a great stop-over for our fans coming to or leaving the Breslin Center, and it’s also a great place to bring the family for some fun even for those who won’t be attending this weekend’s Finals.”
The Greater Lansing Sports Authority’s mission is to be the leading voice of sports tourism in the Greater Lansing area and to promote economic growth by attracting a diverse range of sporting events to the region. The GLSA strives to enhance the quality of life for area residents through the development of local sports and fitness programs for all ages and supports the continued development and maintenance of safe, high-quality athletic facilities.
“The March Magic Hoopfest sets off a great weekend of MHSAA tournament games and helps create a multi-day event which will involve the Lansing area and thousands of visitors from across the state,” said Mike Price, Executive Director of the Greater Lansing Sports Authority. “If you’re coming to the championships, Hoopfest is a destination to visit before and after the games; and if you’re not coming to the games, Hoopfest is a fun, wholesome, inexpensive, family activity.”
PHOTO: Hoopie entertains the crowd during the 2014 MHSAA Finals.