Basketball players of all ages from around the Santa Clarita Valley as well as around the world converged at the Santa Clarita Athletic Club on Saturday for the first-ever 3×3 Veterans Day Tournament.
The tournament was hosted by Golden Valley basketball alumnus and current pro basketball player, Taylor Statham, and featured 26 teams and over 100 players.
“I think just the biggest thing is bringing everybody together,” Statham said. “It was really special, everybody being there. A lot of the basketball teams were helping out, a lot of my friends who I’ve played with or against overseas coming down and I think it was just special, especially for the kids.”
Most of the winners have roots in Santa Clarita. SCV Ballers won the 10u division, Creators won the middle school division, Thiccc Bois took the high school title and Guerrilla Warfare won the adult division crown and cash prize.
Carson Golden won the kids 3-point competition and Buddha Boyd won the adult 3-point event.
Three-on-three basketball differs from the traditional basketball that features five players from each team on the court. It’s played on a smaller court with just one hoop; successful shots inside the arc are worth one point and successful shots beyond the arc are worth two. Free throws are worth one point.
The first three-player team to score 21 points wins the game. Stalling is a violation and the shot clock is 12 seconds, which makes for constant, fast-paced action.
“A lot of kids who came never played 3×3 but maybe they’ve seen it on Instagram, so them being able to execute exactly how to play, the rules are a little different,” Statham said.
“Them doing it and then watching pros and guys playing college do it and see the level they can play at and compete at, I think that was really special for them.”
Statham was drafted by the Indonesian Basketball League on Tuesday and will play in the league from January to April. When he’s finished with the season, he plans to return to Southern California and host another 3×3 tournament.
He’s toying with the idea of making an all-girls division or a 40-and-over division, all while keeping the tournament kid-friendly, too.
“I feel like the kids games were more exciting even though the adults had dunks and near fights,” Statham said. “But I thought the kids were the most exciting, to see the pure joy on their faces.”