Triple threat wreaks havoc at Hoop it Up
South Peace News
They were the Triple Threat, in the 14 and under category, and they managed to place as the 2003 Runners Up at the NBA Hoop It Up three on three competition in Edmonton, June 14-15.
Three junior high school basketball players, Tyrell Cunningham, Sheldon Sloat and Joel Tobias decided to try their hand at some stiff competition. Having played basketball together for the past year, the trio wanted to see how good they were.
"We wanted to see how good we were compared to other people in Alberta," says Sloat.
Tobias says their playing experiences were limited.
"We really haven't faced that much."
The NBA Hoop It Up is an open call to basketball players throughout North America. Each year a limited number of cities are scheduled and teams register. The event is meant to improve publicity and promote NBA ball. Each year the event gains in momentum and more basketball players get involved. It's gained the reputation of being the largest three on three tournament in the world.
This year the three boys decided they wanted to be among them. Tobias' father, Hector, took the team, along with a second team consisting of another three local teens, Cole Boisson, Kent Sloat and Adam Tobias, to Edmonton. They made use of local hotels and got ready for a little stiff competition.
Stiff it was, says Tobias.
Just as Cunningham was picking a competitor, the "guy went up in the air" and over Tobias.
Tobias, now sporting Elastoplasts on an elbow and knee, hit the floor.
But, say the teammates, their level of play improved each game the played.
"We all got better as we played," says Tobias.
Cunningham says he was a little worried when they came up against one particular team.
"We thought we were going to get taken out in the semis by Dog Pound."
It didn't happen he adds.
Darrell Willier, liaison officer at St. Andrew's and coach for the junior high team, was proud of his former players.
"It's a good experience . . . It'll be good for the team next year."
Willier, who leaves the school this year, says he couldn't be more pleased with their growth as players and the fact that the trio had the guts to be more competitive.
As for the team, they're not sure whether they'll have the opportunity to play together at next year's Hoop It Up. Sloat and his family are moving to Whitecourt.
They are, however, very thankful for this particular opportunity, particularly to Hector Tobias for taking them to the city.
"We'd like to thank Darrell for teaching us the basic skills," say all three. "The coach and manager-they know who they are."
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