Hoops in the Highlands – a mini-March Madness for kids – netted more than $25,000 this year for five neighborhood schools.

“It was even better this year,” event chairwoman Michelle Dishman says of the second annual three-on-three basketball tournament held in March at Highland Oaks Church of Christ.

More than 30 schools citywide sent 129 first- through eighth-grade teams to the event, which started at 8 a.m. and lasted until dusk. Games, music and other contests accompanied the play.

“It’s just a great, neat community effort,” says Dishman, who co-chaired the event with her husband, Chris. Both Dishman children – 9-year-old Morgan and 7-year-old Collin – played on teams.

The tournament benefits five neighborhood schools – Lake Highlands, Northlake, Wallace and White Rock elementaries and Lake Highlands Junior High.

The PTAs at each school share responsibility for the event and rotate the chairmanship each year. Each school’s PTA receives an equal cut of the proceeds.

After expenses this year, each school received $5,200 — $1,700 more than last year.

“We’re very happy with the money,” says Lisa Johnson, who founded the event with her husband, Scott. “But even better is the community we’ve built with the other schools that will be entering our junior high. I think we’ve kind of started something that will become a community tradition.”

The financial success can be attributed to sponsors, Dishman says. Corporate donors doubled from nine last year to 19 this year. Dozens of individuals made contributions of money and supplies, and more than 200 people volunteered to run the event.

“I think it will be even bigger next year,” Dishman says.

Dishman, first vice president of the Wallace PTA, says her group used its Hoops in the Highlands to fulfill teacher wish lists. The White Rock PTA is establishing a scholarship fund for Camp Grady Spruce, a weeklong trip taken by fifth-graders.

In previous years, the school district paid for low-income students to attend the optional camp. But budget cuts threaten to end those subsidies, Johnson says.

“We really wanted our money from the tournament to go back to the kids directly,” she says.

Organizers plan to repeat Hoops in the Highlands next March.