By Kelley Atherton

Triplicate staff writer

The Jaycees basketball tournament this weekend will do more than provide a chance for middle-schoolers to compete.

It will also boost the economy by filling up motel rooms and restaurants.

One of the tournament directors, John Phillips, said that the 56 teams and their families will bring in more $200,000 to the local economy.

This tournament is a big deal to participants and the community, especially with education budget cut threats, he said.

andquot;With state cutbacks, it's hard to do stuff like this,andquot; Phillips said.

For eighth-graders, this is their last hoorah before high school, Phillips said. andquot;This is the big dance to come to, it finalizes the season.andquot;

Managers at both the Lighthouse and Bay View Inn on U.S. Highway 101 South said they were booked solid.

Patricia Coburn, the manager at the Best Western Northwoods Inn also on Highway 101 South, said the motel had been booked up for this weekend for a couple of months.

andquot;It does us a lot of good,andquot; Coburn said, adding this time of year is usually slow for the hotel business.

andquot;It depends on the flow of travelers going up and down the coast(Crescent City) is the median point between Portland and San Francisco,andquot; Coburn said.

The tournament is fun for the kids and great for the city, she said. Plus, this introduces the area to outsiders.

andquot;They come up for the tournament and then come with their family for vacation,andquot; said Coburn, who has lived in the city for seven years. andquot;They didn't realize we were here behind the redwood curtain.andquot;

The success of the Jaycees tournament is a reason to funnel more money toward youth activities, Coburn said, since it obviously brings in more people.

Phillips has lived in Del Norte County for 20 years and has noticed a move toward a tourist economy. Five hundred-plus kids and their families is certainly a way to get the word out.

andquot;This is huge to the community,andquot; Phillips said. andquot;This tournament is for the town and community.andquot;

Reach Kelley Atherton at