In 2013 the News Journal’s inaugural NIBROC 3-on-3 basketball tournament featured eight teams. That number jumped up to 18 in year two, followed by 11 teams in year three. This year, the tournament set a new record for participation with a total of 23 teams converging at the Princess Vermillion McBurney Recreation Center in Corbin to see who would be crowned as the champions of the fourth annual event.
Former Williamsburg Yellow Jacket Corey Shelton captained a team that won 2015’s tournament, and he was back this year to defend his crown alongside teammates Andrew Griffith and Aaron Cunningham.
Shelton’s team, “The Blazers,”advanced all the way to the semifinals of the winner’s bracket before being defeated 24-16 by eventual tournament champs L-Town.
After dropping into the loser’s bracket, Shelton, Griffith and Cunningham had to face the team of James Sasko, Jon Sasko, Hunter Hollingsworth and Tanner Boggs. This team was dubbed the “Yellow Colonels” because of the combination of former and present Whitley County Colonels and Williamsburg Yellow Jackets on the squad.
This loser’s bracket matchup would be the second time that the Blazers and the Yellow Colonels had met, with the Blazers already winning 25-21 in a winner’s Bracket contest a couple of rounds earlier. The loser’s bracket game had the same outcome, with the Blazers avoiding elimination with a 25-14 win.
Next up for the Blazers was a game against M.A.K.K. M.A.K.K. is an acronym that represents the first name of each team member – Matt Maguet, Alvin Davis, Kaleb Maguet and Kevin Goins.
M.A.K.K. looked impressive as they made their way through opponent after opponent in the winner’s bracket, until they met up with L-Town in the bracket finals. L-Town won 27-22, dropping M.A.K.K. into the loser’s bracket championship. It was here that they defeated the Blazers 27-22 to earn a rematch against L-Town in the tournament championship game.
L-Town remained undefeated in the title game, beating M.A.K.K. 25-16 to become champions of the Fourth Annual NIBROC 3-on-3 Tournament.
L-Town’s three members – Kyle Neal, Mark Sandoval and Dalton Patterson – are all from Lebanon, TN, where they played ball together at Friendship Christian High School.
Neal is currently studying civil engineering at Vanderbilt University. He said that he would like to return to the tournament next year if possible.
After high school, Sandoval played basketball for two years at Centre College in Danville. He recently graduated from there, and plans to move out west this fall to study library and information sciences at the University of Arizona. He too said that he would like to return to NIBROC next year to defend his 3-on-3 title.
Finally, Patterson is studying business entrepreneurship at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. He said that it was worth the 3 1/2 hour drive for he and his friends to play in the News Journal’s tournament, and he also hopes to return to Corbin in 2017 to try to repeat as a 3-on-3 basketball champion.