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Morris holds Gus Macker tournament

MORRIS – Local police and firefighters spent Saturday afternoon stealing, shooting and making violations.

On the basketball court, that is.

Eight members of the Morris Fire Protection & Ambulance District and Morris Police Department engaged in some friendly competition during Saturday’s Gus Macker 3-on-3 tournament at the first “Guns and Hoses” basketball game.

After about 20 minutes of play, the Hoses emerged victorious, beating the Morris police officers, 15-7.

The game was purely for fun, but the department chiefs wagered before Saturday’s showdown – losing team buys pizza.

“I’ll get a hold of Chief [Tracey] Steffes and find out when he wants his pizzas delivered,” Morris Police Chief Brent Dite said after the game.

Dite and officers Scott Ator, Chad Skelton and Derek Zumbahlen played for the police team.

Playing for the fire protection district were Adam Wilson, Mike Kucia, Jeff Parker and Tyler Poffenbarger.

The event drew a large crowd, which packed the bleachers surrounding the “Dream Court,” where the teams faced off.

A group of about 10 Morris firefighters walked from the firehouse one block away to form a cheering section that clapped, booed and chanted throughout the game.

“It’s about family tradition. That’s who we are,” Morris firefighter Keith Jurek said. “We came out here to support. We support each other 100 percent.”

The firefighters were proud of their team’s triumph and will display the trophy in the front window of the firehouse “so all the cops can see it,” fireman Jake Bulthuis said.

“They’ve got a lot of talented kids,” Dite said of the Hoses. “They had it from the beginning. They made some shots, and we didn’t and they just got ahead of us.”

Julie Applegate of Morris Downtown Development Partnership, which hosts the event annually, said this year’s Macker was one of the biggest tournaments in the event’s 12-year history. About 285 teams registered and 16 volunteer groups participated this year.

This was the first Gus Macker for Jenny Wasson, who traveled from Somonauk so her son Parker could participate.

“It’s been a lot of fun so far, and I think we’ll be coming back for years to come,” she said.

Gardner resident John Hollmeyer said he was surprised by the large crowds at this year’s tournament.

“It’s a lot of people. More than I thought. It’s good for Morris, and all the kids are enjoying it,” Hollmeyer said.

Earlier Saturday morning, Grundy County State’s Attorney Jason Helland and Sheriff Kevin Callahan competed in a free throw contest for the second year in a row.

Last year, Helland won the event, but Callahan took this year’s title after making seven of 10 free throws. Helland made five of the baskets.

“Five out of 10 ain’t nothing to sniff at,” Helland said after.

Callahan said he was excited to beat a “fierce competitor” like Helland.

“I’m elated. That’s about the only word that comes to my mind right now,” Callahan said.

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