Annual NC Senior Games finals brings community together in Greenville after two-year COVID pause

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) -The lovely sound of basketballs being dribbled, and sweet bank shots being made are some of the things you’ll see and hear this weekend at the 29th annual North Carolina Senior Games State Basketball Finals at the ECU Student Rec Center.

The three-on-three tournament features 43 teams this year and includes seven different age groups ranging from 50 years old all the way to 80-plus years old.

The tournament has given longtime participants like 84-year-old Jean Glass, the opportunity to be coached by her daughter Karen Ezabell, which she feels has been great especially because this is all new to her.

“See I’d never played basketball before, didn’t play in high school so this is my first time of playing basketball,” Glass said. “With my daughter coaching me it makes it greater. We’re blessed.”

There are 18 women’s teams and 31 men’s teams competing in the tournament for a spot in the championship game.

Each squad is led by a coach, whether that’s a player-coach or a 10-year-old kid like Trey Hughes, who coaches his grandad’s team Land of Waterfalls.

“It means a lot because I’ve been around my papa my whole life and he’s on that team,” Hughes said. “I’ve been playing basketball with him my whole life so it’s a lot because I’ve been around those guys my entire life probably. I don’t really think there’s another team I’d rather coach.”

Friday’s games were bracket play for teams to get a nice seeding number once championship play begins. Despite the competitiveness, former Virginia Tech player Wallace Lewis said it’s good to be back.

“Just being with the people, community I think that means more to us,” Lewis said. “We love to win, and we expect to win but community is more important.”

The games resume Saturday morning and are free to attend.

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