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For The Love Of The Game

March 25, 2013 2:54 pm EDT

9th annual Blacktop Battle brings out the best in Houston's hoop troop

HOUSTON - It’s called Blacktop Battle. It might as well be named Hoops Nirvana.

Such was the sensation when overlooking the 9th annual event outside Toyota Center this past weekend. For two action-packed days, hundreds of ballers of all ages, shapes and sizes placed their love of the game front and center during the city’s marquee street ball event. The competition was fierce. The dunks were sensational. The fun factor was absolutely off the charts. And the scene was pure basketball bliss.

“Every year I go up to the top of the Tundra Garage,” says Tournament Director Chrislord Templonuevo. “I peer over the corner to take it all in because there’s just something special about seeing 40 basketball courts filled in the middle of downtown Houston with teams playing. That, to me, is the greatest thing I take out of this whole experience.

“People are out here playing basketball in a fun, competitive environment and you get to play against other guys you get to see in and around the city of Houston. To bring them all into one place, it’s super cool, and I love to take a mental snapshot of that experience every year.”

Making the event even more memorable was the fact that, for the very first time in Blacktop Battle history, automatic entry to the USA Basketball Nationals was on the line for the winners of the Adult Elite division. That coveted prize, along with a slam dunk contest that even managed to amaze Rockets Patrick Beverley and Thomas Robinson, brought out the very best in everyone involved, highlighting yet again how much this event has grown and what it continues to represent to the city’s basketball community at large.

Thanks to all the teams and individuals that competed in the 2013 Blacktop Battle. Congratulations to the following for winning the championship in their respective divisions (NOTE: Adult ELITE Winners automatically qualify for USA Basketball Nationals in August 2013):

TEAM TITLISTS

Adult Elite: Harvesters

Adult Competitive A: Bravenuts

Adult Competitive B: Reign

Adult Competitive C: T.D.E.

Adult Recreational A: The Revolution

Adult Recreational B: Team Bucketz

Adult Recreational C: Bad Boyz

Adult Recreational D: BNC

Adult Recreational E: Nothing but Net

Youth 17 & Under: DP Elite

Youth 15 & Under: Running Gators Select

Youth 13 & Under: Unbased

INDIVIDUAL TITLISTS

Slam Dunk: Issac White

3-pt Shootout Youth: Nnamdi Issac

3-pt Shooutout Adult: Matt Hartlein

Skills Challenge Youth: Jabari Webster & James Taylor

Skills Challenge Adult: Matt Mohr & Mason Butler