Poor weather can’t slow down Edwards tourney
By: Emily Kram, Superior Telegram
Sleet, snow and a sectional final game drove down attendance at this year’s Austin Edwards Memorial Tournament, but an impressive crowd still showed up Saturday for the festivities at Superior Middle School.
A total of 77 teams registered for the 3-on-3 tournament, down from the record of 93 set in 2012.
The high school boys made up the largest division with 14 teams, followed by the youth co-ed division (grades 2-4) and seventh- and eighth-grade boys division with 13 teams apiece.
The high school girls had lower numbers than usual, due in large part to a scheduling conflict with the WIAA sectional finals. Both Superior High School and South Shore High School played in sectional final games Saturday.
“I know that if some of those girls were here, they’d have a team,” said Michelle Edwards, Austin’s mother. “That’s where we’re missing is the high school girls, and then their siblings and the adult teams. But that’s OK. I would rather have them be going to state — absolutely. We’re proud of them for making it as far as they are.”
The annual 3-on-3 basketball tournament was named in memory of Austin Edwards in 2006 and serves as a fundraiser for the Superior Basketball Association. Edwards, who played in the SBA, died of injuries sustained from an ATV accident in November 2005.
This year’s event featured a number of returning teams, including the adult division winner, Lazy But Talented.
Participants came from as far as Ashland and Hayward, but most came from Douglas County and the Twin Ports area.
Michelle Edwards said some teams have participated every year, and players who began as children are now competing in the adult category.
New to the Austin Edwards Memorial Tournament this year were competitions for best team name and best jersey. Finalists were decided by crowd applause, and the last teams standing won gift certificates.
“Every year, some of the names that come about here are fun,” Edwards said. “We wanted to give them a little incentive to be creative. And then a lot of them make their T-shirts every year for their teams, which is kind of fun and creative too, so we want to give them a chance to be rewarded for that.”
The voting was tight in the best name contest. Ten teams entered the competition, and the field was narrowed to just two after three rounds of voting.
“There’s some dandies out there,” Edwards said.
Her personal favorite was the youth co-ed team The Nacho Slayerz. Geeks in Sneaks, Weapons of Mass Destruction and the Cattle Crew Reborn also drew a laugh from Edwards.
Going by crowd applause, the best team name title came down to Vicious and Delicious, in the high school boys division, and the Hot Hoop Heroes, fifth- and sixth-grade boys. The high school boys came out on top, but the Hot Hoop Heroes had another shot in the best jersey contest.
The heroes went for creativity with their custom printed blue shirts. Each member of the team had the name of a different superhero on the back of his shirt, ranging from He-Man to Superman. On the front was the team name and a quote from the superhero.
The other finalist in the best jersey contest went the homemade route. The Spigers, from the seventh- and eighth-grade girls division, wore black shirts embellished with rusty orange spray paint and glitter.
Both teams drew loud applause, but the Hot Hoop Heroes won by a hair.
The Spigers, however, still managed to end the tournament with a victory. They went on to win the girls seventh- and eighth-grade girls division crown, and the Hot Hoop Heroes added another title to their name with a victory in the fifth- and sixth-grade boys division.
2013 Austin Edwards Memorial Tournament
High school girls — Champs
High school boys — Nothin’ But Net
Grade 7-8 girls — Spigers
Grade 7-8 boys — Junior Dream Team
Grade 5-6 girls — Tye Dyed Tigers
Grade 5-6 boys — Hot Hoop Heroes
Grade 2-4 co-ed — Little Giants
Adults — Lazy But Talented