By Bill Choy

Triplicate Sports Editor

Crescent City will be buzzing with basketball activity starting today, as 56 junior high teams converge for the 39th Annual Crescent City Jaycees Basketball Tournament.

andquot;It's good for the kids,andquot; said Tom Silvey, director of the Jaycees tournament. andquot;It's phenomenal. The kids look forward to it each year.andquot;

The tournament has boys teams participating throughout the region, from Oregon to the Bay Area. The girls have their own tourney, which takes place in December.

All the local junior high teams will take part in the competition, from schools such as Crescent Elk in town to Smith River.

Thursday afternoon, the A-1 division team from Redwood school in Fort Dick was hard at work, preparing for the tourney at the Four Square Church gymnasium in Crescent City.

The Raiders, who are 10-4 this year, are coached by Matt Berry, a teacher at Redwood.

He said his team is excited and pumped to play in such a huge tourney in the area they live in.

andquot;It's the NBA finals for junior high,andquot; he said. andquot;It's big. Since it's been going on for so long, it's well established so they get to play a lot of teams.andquot;

Barrett McClaflin, who plays guard, said he can't wait to begin.

andquot;It's one of the best tournaments of the year,andquot; he said, adding a moment later it could, hopefully, possibly be the best tournament of his life.

Trevor Babich, who plays in the post, said he likes the fact he will be going up against top-notch competition.

andquot;It's good practice for when I go to high school,andquot; he said. andquot;I just love the sport of basketball. It keeps me active so I'm no couch potato.andquot;

To Babich, the Raiders can hopefully win a trophy this year if they continue to andquot;play right.andquot;

Besides the benefits for the players, it's also a great boost to the local economy, by bringing in a fair number of people during the slower winter season, Silvey said.

For Berry, who has been coaching at Redwood for seven years, it's wonderful that each year, the teams here locally get to play in such a large tournament, to go along with their regular season schedule.

He also enjoys getting to know his fellow coaches and said he has always been impressed with the sense of competition, fun, and fair play that he has seen at the event.

The games will be played at gyms throughout the area, including Del Norte High School.

The tourney ends on Saturday.