GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – More than 45 men’s and women’s teams across the state competed in the North Carolina Senior Games 29th Annual State Finals 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament.

The games weren’t between seniors in high school or college, but between 50- to 80-year-olds. The sound of cheering, buzzer beaters and basketballs dribbling filled the inside of the ECU Eakin Student Recreation Center as senior adults had their game faces on.

Just because players were 50 years old and up, didn’t stop them from putting their all on the court.

(Caitlin Richards, WNCT photo)

“For me, just seeing those older ladies still out there, busting it and getting it, it’s inspirational for me,” said basketball tournament participant Trudy Crowe. “So that’s why I started coming. And I hope to be able to inspire other people younger than me to keep on being active.”

Sports and IT Coordinator for the N.C. Senior Games, Hugh Autry, said basketball is one of the 28 different sports N.C. Senior Games offer.

“This is my 24th year with Senior Games, and I’ve seen some amazing stuff over the years and just every minute of it is so inspiring,” said Autry.

Tournament director Jennifer Lanier-Coward said the thing that always catches her eye while watching the games is the respect for one another. No matter who gets the winning swish in the basket, the teams always end with respect.

“Just because you’re 50 or over doesn’t mean life ends for you. It’s actually your opportunity to relive all the time that you had when you had to work every day. So why not participate in Senior Games,” said Lanier-Coward.

“Not only do you get a chance to meet different people, but you get a chance to be active, to try new things and to just keep your mind going. So I would just encourage people across the state to participate in senior games because it’s an opportunity to just enjoy your life without restriction.”

The senior games started in 1983 with local games, then state finals a few years later. Tournaments have been going on at ECU since the 1990s.

With the games happening for so many years but having to take a break during the pandemic, organizers said it’s good to be back in person with over 300 participants.