Register for 'Hoops for Hope' charity basketball tournament

Hoopsters of all sizes and skill levels are teaming up for Lake County's annual 3-on-3 Hoops for Hope tourney, which will be March 14-15 at Grayslake North High School.

Now in its fifth year, Hoops for Hope draws hundreds of players and volunteers every year to help support the 12 Oaks Foundation, a nonprofit charity dedicated to helping kids stay active in sports.

"It's fantastic to see the whole community come together for this event each year," said Steve Hupp, director of the foundation. "We're so grateful for their support and the difference it's made to our 12 Oaks families."

Hupp and his wife, Julie, founded the charity in 2010 to honor the memory of their son, Matthew, who died at age 13 from a rare form of cancer, Birkitt's lymphoma. Through individual grants and grant-in-aid programs, 12 Oaks helps cover the costs of sports and extracurricular activities for children in families coping with cancer and financial hardships.

Each year, the charity has continued to grow, and in 2014, 12 Oaks provided more than $30,000 in grants to families in need. Most of the funds come from two annual events, Matt's Mile and 5K race in October and Hoops for Hope in March.

Hoops for Hope will partner with LifeSource again this year to offer a blood drive on-site on the first day of the tournament, Saturday, March 14. Anyone 16 or older with two forms of ID is eligible to donate. Donors who are 16 years old must also fill out a parental consent form, available at the event.

Teams of four or more players, fourth-graders through adults, can register for Hoops for Hope now through March 8. Organizers will group teams into divisions by gender and age, from fourth-graders on up. The entry fee is $35 for kids ($40 after March 1) and $40 for adults. Each registration includes a 12 Oaks reversible mesh jersey.

All games are half-court and played with a 20-minute running clock. Youth teams will take part in pool play on Saturday and double-elimination on Sunday. For adults, all pool play and elimination rounds will take place Saturday.

On Saturday, March 14, players can compete for prizes in a 3-point shooting and skills competition. Hoops for Hope and the AGB Hawks AAU basketball program will also host a free, daylong basketball clinic and skills court Saturday. All registered players are welcome to drop in and brush up on their moves between games.

To register or for details, including volunteer and sponsorship opportunities, visit

Paul Kocerka of Mundelein drives to the hoop against Joe Dahlstrom of Grayslake at a previous Hoops for Hope tournament. This year's tournament will be March 14-15 at Grayslake North High School. Courtesy of the 12 Oaks Foundation
Steve and Julie Hupp pose with some of the players at a previous Hoops for Hope tournament. The Hupps founded the 12 Oaks Foundation in 2010 to honor the memory of their son, Matthew. Courtesy of the 12 Oaks Foundation
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