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For the price of two rusted chain basketball nets, 15 teams of three competed for nearly five hours Saturday in a three-on-three basketball tournament. The second annual Chain Net Classic was held at the outdoor basketball courts, just behind the outdoor tennis courts.
Sophomore Sarah Corbitt sunk a three-pointer to clinch the 13-11 win for her team, which also featured junior Muguna Siameja and senior Todd Zimmerman.
Their opponents were Principia basketball legend Laura Saucedo-Williams (who now works in Human Resources), junior Stanley Beal, and Upper School senior Matt Jones.
In the semifinals, Corbitt’s team beat out the trio of junior Sam Douglas, junior Dani Corbitt, and freshman Zach Becker, while Saucedo’s team defeated basketball coach Sarah Jarvis, senior Stuart Waller, and junior Spencer Brown.
Waller, Brown and alum Christina Speer (C’09) won the competition last year, and though Saucedo came out of a brief hiatus from basketball, she demonstrated energy and passion for the game.
The cost of the tournament was minimal: just $6.95 to replace the chain nets. Philosophy professor Chris Young came up with the idea after seeing a similar one at Fort Lewis College in southwestern Colorado during his undergraduate years.
“It was fun and relaxed, yet a competitive way of bringing students and staff together,” Young said, “and I thought it would be a good idea to replicate here.”
Siameja, an ardent supporter of the Los Angeles Lakers who sported a dreadlock hairdo just for the tournament, said he was excited, and his teammate Corbitt agreed. “You just notice the various skill levels,” Siameja said, “and it is a good way of bringing people together.”
Despite falling on a busy social weekend when there were activities galore at Principia, the event was still highly attended. Prinstock, various sports matches, and the spring production of Robin Hood competed for campus attention.
The large number of students, family, and staff who turned up at the courts despite the sweltering heat indicates that the tournament can only expand in popularity.
The relaxed outdoor atmosphere intentionally provided a different atmosphere from the controlled room temperature of indoor basketball courts. Varsity basketball players had to adjust to the hoops and hot sunshine. “It is very hard to shoot at the hoops with the chain nets,” said Young. “You have to be very close.”
There are plans to make the competition more attractive. According to Young, introducing prizes could raise the profile of the competition. “We could have T-shirts and something better than a handshake at the end of the competition to reward the players, although we still want this to be a fun event,” Young said.
The modified rules kept only the scoring system of a regular basketball game intact. However, the stringent rules only added fun and did not dilute the competitiveness. Teams of three took turns using only half of the basketball court so that two games could go on at one time. Each match lasted 15 minutes, and the teams kept their own score. Players also called the fouls, which effectively eliminated the need for officials.
For fairness, each team was required to have one female member. Varsity basketball players were widely distributed, because each team could only have one player from a varsity basketball team.
Coming after a busy athletic season, teams had players from basketball, soccer, tennis, lacrosse, volleyball, baseball, and softball, among others. Some of the participants had not played basketball before, but had the necessary skills.
Even though some players came from other matches, they were still able to give it their all. “Some of the players showed fatigue after playing rugby and soccer,” observed sophomore Colin Angle, one of the competition’s organizers, “but their input and passion was invaluable. [Junior] Matt Bowman, who would rather be playing baseball, has a good touch.”
Waller said that the competition was a good way to identify skilled basketball players, observing that there were some whose raw talent could be nurtured. Waller, a varsity baseball player, added there were quality players who opted for other varsity sports but would be an asset in basketball.
Angle said he sees a bright future for the two-year-old tournament. Falling on a visiting weekend, some of the teams had high school players who blended right in, and it was difficult to distinguish them from their college teammates, even though they had not practiced together.