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What had been the worst kept secret in Western New York over the past week is now official: the Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament will be held July 19-20 at Darien Lake.

Officials from Darien Lake, Gus Macker and Buffalo Police Athletic League Executive Director Modie Cox made the announcement today at City Hall.

Participants in the tournament will basically get two days of free admission to the amusement park as part of the tournament’s $148 per four-man team entry fee ($37 per person). Tournament spectators and family members of participants can purchase discounted tickets into the park for $25.

Buffalo PAL will be the main charity to benefit from Darien Lake covering tournament expenses. The Macker has been a fundraiser for PAL for years, but the organization lost its main sponsor ex-Buffalo Bill Terrance McGee after last year’s event – forcing PAL executive director Modie Cox to search for a new sponsor.

PAL made a minimal money off the Macker last year ($5,000). Cox hopes the new deal will result in PAL making closer to $30,000 – money which funds the organization’s various after-school and sports programs.

“We’re so thankful to Darien Lake for stepping up to sponsor the tournament this year because without them we wouldn’t have been able to have it this year,” Cox said.

PAL is looking for transportation sponsors so that it can shuttle inner-city youths with no means of getting to Darien Lake to the event via bus.

Email: mrodriguez@buffnews.com