Intramural 3-on-3 basketball brings out best hoopers

On Saturday, Nov. 4 around 11 a.m., the cracks of breaking ankles and the sound of swishes filled the Veale Convocation, Recreation and Athletic Center. Legends matched up against each other in a battle to cement their legacies. Upcoming stars that revolutionized the game faced off against old time wear-and-tear ballers. Trash talking reached anyone within earshot, and the big men made their power moves, calling “and one” as helpless smaller defenders attempted to guard them. Even with the intense environment, students still maintained friendships and displayed sportsmanship during Case Western Reserve University’s fall intramural 3-on-3 basketball tournament.

Ten teams played three-on-three half-court basketball in a double elimination tournament. In each game, the first team to score 11 points won; teams earned two points for shots made beyond the arc and one point for all other baskets. A wide range of players participated, starting with first-year students and going up to Ph.D. candidates.

Teams used really creative names; LeBron is Leaving versus Big Shaq and Big Beta Blockers versus 3-Won are a few examples of some of the matchups that drew interest.  

3-Won player and third-year student Ross Kaufhold said that his team’s name was supposed to “play on a lot of different levels,” as it was the idea of his teammate, third-year student Nick Powell.

Kaufhold also added that he enjoys 3-on-3 basketball, because it is “good exercise and a way to see friends.”

“[It’s] more like a social event. Most players have played in high school or younger and everyone enjoys it,” he said.

The camaraderie and positivity could be seen on the faces of all players; everyone maintaining a lighthearted, competitive attitude. The environment seemed to be more like pickup street basketball than actually a tournament.

Sad Vibes player and third-year student Andrew Kowalkowski said that he enjoys the event, and he even won the tournament during his first year at CWRU. Since he was unable to play his second year, he wanted to get back into the game this year and formed a team.

He jokingly added, “This is the best I could get,” while pointing at his teammates.

While some players came for the sole reason of basketball, others such as third-year student Abdelrahman Rahmy, were all-around athletes. Rahmy said that he is “more of a soccer player,” but he enjoys playing basketball for fun and “tries to do all the IM sports possible” if he can form a team.

As I was talking to Rahmy, one of his teammates interjected, “I hit the game winner, and I called game,” displaying the upbeat environment present and everyone’s excitement to play and win.

The final game was a roller-coaster ride. The game was a rematch of a quarterfinal game with 3-Won looking to defeat Sad Vibes for a second time. 3-Won came out strong with third-year student Nigel McDonald hitting two-point shots and led 9-4. However, Sad Vibes didn’t give up, as Kowalkowski and second-year student Samyak Kanungo spurred a 5-0 run to tie the game at nine. Kaufhold hit a layup, and after many nerve-racking possessions, McDonald was able to hit the game winning finger roll layup to win 11-9.

Regardless of winning or losing, everyone agreed that the event was a welcome relief from academics and midterms.