After seven years of competing in the Taylor Press 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament, the team We Nice finally walked away with the championship. The tournament was held this past weekend, July 13-14, at Taylor High School. Twenty-six teams signed up to play and the event raised more than $5,200.
The funds will be used for two scholarships for Taylor High School seniors that graduate in 2020, and a donation will be made to the American Legion to send a student to Boys State.
The team of Brian Hubbard, Damien Goodwin II, Jelani Jackson and Chuck Okpalaeze took the title in the 18 and older division.
Hubbard said his team enjoys playing in the tournament and looks forward to defending their title next year.
In the 15-17 age division, Raptors in 6 won the championship. The team only had three players, Eric Iannone, Iroquis Jones and Jackson Miget. Jones was named MVP.
In the 11-14 age division, the Super Cool Kids were crowned champions. The team was Jett Vanbrocklin, Connor Watson, Ryan Valdez and Hayden St. Clair. Watson was named MVP.
During the championship, because of their size, the Super Cool Kids played three versus five to give the younger team a better chance of competing. The younger team consisted of players between 8 and 10 years old.
The Shining Stars, a non-profit for adults with special needs, also played a championship game. At the end of their game, fans surrounded the court to applaud them during the finale.
“It was great tournament again this year,” said Tournament Director Jason Hennington. “Thanks to all of our sponsors, refs and everyone that came out and had a great time.”
He said for the first time in the tournament’s history, every player received a bag as an appreciation gift for playing.
Hennington said this year was one of the most competitive tournaments so far.
“Everybody came to play, and everybody was good. You couldn’t just pick one team and say, ‘they’re going to win,’” he said. “Several players already said they will be back next year, and some even plan to bring other teams.”
There was also a three-point and free throw competition. Jon Warren won the three-point contest for the third consecutive year, and Tremale Bouldin won the free throw contest.
According to Hennington, players come from all over to play in the tournament. He said they don’t just come from Texas, but from other states.
“I just found out this year we have a guy who has been flying in from Atlanta every year to play. There is also someone from California that flies in every year,” he said. “I’m glad our event leaves a good impression on them and makes them want to come back.”
He said this year featured players from Austin, Waco, El Paso, Houston, San Antonio, Atlanta, Arkansas, New Orleans and California.
“It’s a lot of work to put on, but it is all worth it because it gives people something else to do in Taylor, the money is used for a good cause and it brings new people to our community,” Hennington said. “I hope that it continues to grow every year.”