The world is in an unprecedented state of flux right now.
With the spread of COVID-19 – globally known as coronavirus – every sport, national and local, has either been put on hold or canceled altogether. Most notably among the cancellations is the absence of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, making 2020 the first year without March Madness since 1938.
Additionally, several school districts – including CMCSS – are on hiatus from classes, with Clarksville-Montgomery County schools out until at least March 30.
With that free time and the lack of a basketball tournament, Clarksville High School senior Colby Cook, with assistance from Javeon Walton, decided to put on a show of his own. On Monday, he hosted a 3-on-3 basketball tournament at East Montgomery Elementary School composed of 12 teams of CHS students.
“I’m a big Kentucky basketball fan, so it’s like a second Christmas for my family,” Cook said. “When that happened, I was pretty upset about that because this month is one of my favorite months because I get to watch the sport with my dad, a lot of basketball.
“When (the tournament was canceled)… that kind of sparked my mind. As a joke I put a poll on my Instagram, I was like, ‘If I had a 3-on-3 tournament, who would be down to come?’ And I got a lot of love from it. I got 40 people signed up from that.”
Once the interest was there, he purchased a bracket maker app, contacted his friends and football teammates and began to organize the event. He expected to have anywhere from five to eight teams. Once Monday rolled around, the bracket was made up of 12.
With no school in session, the high schoolers were able to sleep in before starting the tournament promptly at 11 a.m. After a quick change in the weather forecast, the gray skies opened and rain began shortly after the first tip-off, adding wetness to an already chilly day.
They did not mind, though, as the group played without stoppage up until the conclusion of the championship game at 3 p.m. The team of Blake Hundley, Jee Hoffman and Nathan Barksdale defeated Cook, Seth Phillips and Domingo Mendez with a slippery basketball on a makeshift slip-and-slide blacktop.
“It was just fun,” Hundley said. “The whole football team came out and played some basketball. It was Colby’s idea, shout out to Colby. He organized it all. (The weather) made it more fun, more challenging. We’ve played in weather worse than this.”
Hundley noted that his favorite part of the tournament was hanging out with – and being fouled by – his friends.
Nick Edwards, Cal McKay and Jakobie Watkins finished third. From fourth place onward finished Kyler Edwards, Chris Bagatini and Jordan Kennedy; Ben Fryer, Colton Stansberry and Wyatt Thornton; Damari Ussery, Jason Eaton and Brett Hill; Alec Devries, Cortez Majors and Price Warfield; Gianni Reyman, Chris Bagatini and Harrison Trice; Durrett McKay, Miles McKay and Kahlil Smith; Metthew Seeber, Harrison Watts and Gavin Baxter; Clarence Kendrick, Arnett Hines and Juland Lafortune.