Teams run out of time as rain hits
July 7, 2023
Up through the semifinals of the Fourth of July 3-on-3 basketball tournament, things had gone about as smoothly as possible.
"Everything from the registering of teams, getting sponsors, setting up brackets, pretty much everything went off the way we planned," said tournament organizer Paul Cameron. "Then the heavy rain and storm came and we had to make a decision to cancel the remaining six games. Even though we had to cancel, all the teams couldn't have been better about it."
The tournament at the Pinehurst Park basketball court featured 20 teams this season from the ages of 12 all the way through to dads playing with their sons, including some amazing athletes.
"I don't think there is any doubt that this year featured the highest talent level we've ever had in the tournament," Cameron said.
When the tournament was called there were two undefeated teams remaining and two teams with one loss still trying to come out of the loser's bracket in the double-elimination tournament.
"Both the Fond du Lac boys and the East Pine boys were undefeated," said Cameron. "A team of freshman basketball players from Cloquet, called the Bucket Getters, were still in the tournament with one loss and so were the 3-Headed Goats out of Esko. The winner of that game would have had to play a team from Superior called 'Dora's Explorers.'"
Cameron was able to get a number of sponsors - and some July Fourth committee funding - which helped pay for prizes and for trophies as well as professional referees.
"We were able to pay junior college referees this year which helped as well," said Cameron. "Some of our sponsors included a new restaurant in Duluth called Burger Paradox, Port City Company, which sells new and re-used sportswear, and Little Angie's Cantina, which gave $100 gift certificates away.
One of the tournament's quirkiest prizes is the "most drip award," which goes to the most stylishly dressed player and was sponsored by Port City
This year's "drip" winner was Curtis Houle, who came in with an outfit resembling Allen Iverson.
"People were just super excited to play basketball and excited to come out and join some awfully good players," said Cameron. "Despite the rain everyone went away happy and enjoyed the day. They were pumped and no one was sour about how the weather played out."
The tournament featured two half court games taking place at all times. Any individual players who showed up without a team were put on a team and given the chance to play.
"It is just a fun tournament and a chance to play a sport we all love," Cameron said. "I want to thank all the volunteers who helped out and all the sponsors, players and fans who came to watch. They made it another great and special year."