2014 3-on-3 champs, The Colonels – Josh Jewell, Josh Crawford and Blake Buckman
Saturday marked the return of the News Journal 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament to NIBROC.
In just 12 month’s time the field of teams more than doubled from eight in 2013 to 18 in 2014. The tournament was played under double elimination rules, with last year’s champions, Team Buckets (Tyler Wagner, Madison Johnson, Isaac Wilson, Travis Cowden and TJ Jones) falling into the loser’s bracket after dropping a fourth round game to The Colonels (Josh Crawford, Josh Jewell and Blake Buckman), 25-10.
The Colonels went on to defeat The Average Joes 25-15 in the winner’s bracket championship, while Team Buckets tore through the loser’s bracket, defeating The Tigers, The Dragons, and The Average Joes to earn a spot in the championship game.
The rematch between these two talented teams was fierce, with Team Buckets pulling out a 24-16 win to force a game two for all the marbles.
The Colonels battled back, turning away the defending champs with a 24-18 victory to claim this year’s title, and a $300 cash prize.
Colonels team captain Josh Crawford, a 2009 graduate of Corbin High School who went on to play basketball at Centre College, said that he learned about the 3-on-3 tournament after picking up a copy of The News Journal and seeing an advertisement inside. He said that he would like to return next year, adding that he enjoyed the level of competition.
Teammate Josh Jewell, also from Corbin, said that he has played basketball his entire life, and he agreed to play in the 3-on-3 tournament after receiving a phone call from Crawford earlier that same day. “Josh asked me if I wanted to play on his team, so I got my things together, drove over, and made it here just in time.”
When asked if he would be back next year, Jewell said, “I will be back for sure.”
Fellow teammate Blake Buckman is from Marion County, and played basketball at Georgetown College from 2004-08. He now works with Crawford at Eastern Kentucky University. “Josh is always telling me about Corbin and how great it is,” he said. “He’s told me about NIBROC, and I knew I needed to experience it for myself, so when I was asked to play in this tournament I told him absolutely I would.”
Buckman made a promise that his team would return next year to defend their crown, as long as work responsibilities don’t prevent it.
Tournament director and News Journal Associate Publisher Trent Knuckles said of the event, “This tournament was conceived simply because there was a void that needed to be filled. Nobody was planning three-on-three basketball tournaments in this area anymore and I thought that was a shame.”
“We have so many talented basketball players around here, and I personally enjoy watching them play. We had 18 highly competitive teams in this year’s tournament, more than double last year’s field, and I think everybody had a great time.”
“I think the NIBROC 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament is a great addition to the festival and I plan to continue it for years to come. I could tell by the fierce, competitive desire displayed on the court that this tournament meant something to those who were playing in it. That’s good. I want winning it to be something that will be celebrated and remembered fondly.”