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Three-on-three tourney raises over $8,000

Peterborough: Twenty-first annual Place to Go fundraiser hosted some of the top local players of all ages

Every year, I look forward to the annual Place To Go three-on-three basketball tournament. It’s been a tradition in Peterborough for as long as I can remember.

My team had been steadily improving over the last few tourneys, making it to third place in the adult division in 2013. This winter, I hit every open gym I could, playing a few times a week and looking ahead to the tournament. With my new position prowling the sidelines at basketball games, I’d developed a good rapport with local refs, so I was counting on getting some superstar calls and grinding my way to the championship. This was our year.

Then, disaster struck. I got a severe grade II inverse ankle sprain while playing pickup – no sports for at least a month and maybe longer. I had an outside shot at making it into the tourney six weeks later, but not a good one.

As the tourney approached, I knew I would be pushing it if I tried to play, so I found a replacement for my squad and made the tough choice to coach my team instead of playing. And even though I was back at nearly 100 percent by the day of the tournament (with the help of my fancy new bionic ankle brace), it was probably the right move.

My team, consisting of Jeff Rushalko, Tim Conway, Trevor Lasalle and new addition Henry Walters, worked their way through the brackets with ease. They dispatched a team built around former Conant star Kyle Todd, then another featuring ConVal boys coach Kevin Proctor, cruising to a spot in the championship game, with me on the sidelines making crafty coaching decisions all the while (ok, I did nothing).

The tourney is double elimination (hence our team name Two and Out), so when we faced Proctor’s team again in the title match, they had to beat us twice. They gave us a good run, behind Kevin Proctor’s feisty defense, Barrett Proctor’s slashing moves to the hoop, Bobby Crowley’s lights-out shooting and Andy Boule’s terrific rebounding (and rapidly disintegrating shoe). In fact, the Jungle Cats were able to take the first game in the series! But, Two and Out pulled it off, and without me playing, we still got our first ‘ship in team history.

Even without playing, the event was still a great time. It was awesome to see legendary 1,000-point scorers of the past sharing the court with the stars of Conant, ConVal and Mascenic future, boys and girls alike. And as someone who grew up going to the Place to Go after school every day, it was great to see everyone come out and support the cause. In the end, over $8,000 was raised for the program.

Now, it’s back to work. We’ve got a title to defend.

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