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Basketball great part of life for players at Senior Olympics

Tanner Cook • Updated Sep 15, 2018 at 11:14 PM

Basketball is not typically thought of as a lifetime sport.

On Saturday morning at East Tennessee State’s Center for Physical Activity, there were more than 30 people who showed up and said otherwise as they participated in the Senior Olympics basketball portion at the district level.

“I’ve been playing basketball since 1965,” John Hyatt said. “It’s great that I can still play. It’s fun that we get out here and play and enjoy it a little bit longer before we get too old to play.”

Hyatt is a graduate of Happy Valley High School and was on the Ridge Runners team out of Greeneville on Saturday in the men’s three-on-three tournament.

Action Athletics won the tournament, but team member Ron Haynes is just happy to play hoops with some long-time friends on a Saturday morning.

“I love the game and I’ve always enjoyed it,” Haynes said. “The fact that we still get to play competitive makes it all the more fun, too. I’ve been to the state a couple of times and it’s highly competitive. … I’ll come out here and play anytime I get the chance.”

There were men’s and women’s divisions in the three-on-three tournament, and there were also several individual competitions.

Among the contests was free-throw shooting, three-point shooting and “hot shot,” which is similar to a game of around the world with a variety of shots inside and outside the three-point arc. Each shot has certain point values, and the competitor with the most total points at the end of one minute of shooting wins the competition.

The next competition in the Senior Olympics will be shuffleboard at the Kingsport Senior Center on Monday, beginning at 9 a.m.

Also next week will be pickleball on Wednesday at Memorial Park in Johnson City and track and field Saturday at Kermit Tipton Stadium on the campus of Science Hill High School.

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