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Redding 3-on-3 tournament spans the generations

Just like the Harlan Carter Invitation to kick off the high school basketball season, the annual 3-on-3 tournament is a right of passage in Redding.While JV and varsity kids get the spotlight during the first week of December for Harlan Carter, the 3-on-3 event, presented by Elevate Camps and sponsored by Lithia Chevrolet and Shasta County Sports, the limelight shines on all ages on the blacktop of the Redding Civic Center.

Anthony Williams has played with his brother, James, in the Redding 3-on-3 tournament for nearly two decades. From brothers to fathers and sons and daughters to cousins, one of the legacies of the 3-on-3 tournament is being able to play with family and friends. (Courtesy photo)

Just like the Harlan Carter Invitation to kick off the high school basketball season, the annual 3-on-3 tournament is a right of passage in Redding.

While JV and varsity kids get the spotlight during the first week of December for Harlan Carter, annual Redding 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament held at the Redding Civic Auditorium, presented by Elevate Camps and sponsored by Lithia Chevrolet of Redding and Shasta County Sports, the limelight shines on all ages on the blacktop of the Redding Civic Center.

And often, stars of the 3-on-3 tournament come from the same family – a generational passing of the torch.

Fathers. Mothers. Sons. Daughters. Brothers. Sisters. Cousins.

The tournament is chalk full of stories of different generations competing for the coveted red T-shirt signifying “Champion.”

REGISTER YOUR 3 ON 3 TEAM: Deadline is Wednesday at 5 p.m.

Lamont Cooper has played in numerous 3-on-3 events, starting back in 1998 with friends Wendell Sanders and Michael Gray on the team of “Blacktop Legends.”

Over the years, all three have seen their sons and daughters follow in their high tops. Cooper’s daughters Ravien, Alex and Justyse all have competed, as has his son, Demmareya — who is on the 3 on 3 poster this year.

“It’s exciting, not just coaching my sons, but the other guys who play with him,” Cooper said. “Ravien, Alex and Justyse all have been out there, too. I’ve enjoyed watching them all play.”

Lamont “Disco” Cooper, third from left, has traded in his sneakers for a coach’s clipboard, coaching his son’s team in the annual 3-on-3 tournament. (Contributed photo)

Perhaps the two biggest stars of the 3-on-3 tournament throughout the years have been Anthony and James Williams, twins who starred at Enterprise and now coach girls basketball at their alma mater along with running the successful Reign AAU program.

Anthony said this year will be the first time in about 15 years he and his brother won’t play in the annual event, as wedding planning has priority over his time.

“It’s my favorite weekend of the year,” he said. “The neatest part is how it brings family and friend groups together.”

Williams and his brother were the core of a team that didn’t lose for about eight years and remember how each year teams would come gunning for them.

“Everyone wanted to beat us,” he said. “The anticipation of the tournament is like waiting for Christmas.”

He said the element of street ball and the fair amount of trash talking is the closest most North State players will get to knowing what it’s like on courts in Chicago or the Bronx.

“I remember playing against a guy I went to college with and we were going back and forth,” Williams said. “I hit a 3 in his face and we were talking and he hit a 3 to win it. I was like ‘dang, I can’t even be mad.’

“You can hear what the players are saying and you hear what everyone else is saying, too.”

Now, he said, he enjoys seeing players he’s coached or watched over the years compete in 3-on-3. And even as a spectator, Williams said he gets hyped watching along with the crowds that grow as Sunday afternoon comes and championships are on the line.

“Just going to the tournament and seeing all the people encompasses what Redding is about,” Williams said. “I think back to when I was young and think about all these kids playing now and know that they’re just starting out and don’t even realize the impact this tournament is going to have on them.”

REGISTRATION DEADLINE: May 29 (WEDNESDAY at 5 p.m.!!!!)

A portion of the proceeds go towards helping send kids entering middle school to Elevate Camp’s outdoor summer camp at Lassen Pines. The camp is under-resourced, Alexander said, and this is a chance to send local kids who have never experienced a week-long camp before.

Other sponsors supporting the non-profit’s community-focused mission include WaterWorks Park, Mt. Shasta Spring Water, Welch Enterprises, Kona Ice, Oasis Fun Center, Backyard Escapes Pools and Landscape, Clayton’s Towing, Alexander Creative, Danny Day All-State Insurance, Dan Metz Real Estate Broker, the Jeantet Team of Coldwell Banker C&C Properties and KRCR-TV.

Aaron Williams has been involved in the North State sports scene for nearly two decades. He spent eight years as the Sports Editor for the local newspaper and another four more as the voice of high school football on the radio. In addition to coaching freshman football, Williams is also the public address announcer for the Shasta College football and basketball teams.

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