The explosive, all-action drama that is 3×3 basketball burst into Ghetto in spectacular style at the weekend, lighting up the Botho University courts as bodies and balls soared through the air in thrilling fashion.
The first-ever ‘The Big Chems’ tournament attracted an impressive assortment of teams from across Botswana, as well as international representation in the form of five Zimbabwean sides.
Divided into four categories – men’s, women’s, U/18 boys and girls – in total, the competition saw 39 squads descend on the second city for an action-packed two days of sport.
Hip-hop music blaring non-stop in the background added to the electric atmosphere, while chattering spectators huddled together courtside, giving the event an intimate feel.
In the end, it was the visitors from north of the border who proved slightly too strong for their local counterparts, blitzing to victory in all but the U/18 girls section.
With matches continuing until well after midnight on a chilly Saturday, the tournie got the dramatic climax it deserved, both the men’s and women’s finals settled by a single point. As tension mounted and the momentum ebbed and flowed, it was double delight under the lights for the streetwise In the Streets, who held their nerve to clinch both titles.
Reflecting on what he called a successful inaugural tournament, organiser, Tnyse Tiro Serumola, told Voice Sport he was delighted with the turnout.
“I’m very happy. The standard on display was also high; it was an excellent advertisement for the game: exciting and fast-paced, which is what 3×3 basketball is all about,” declared Serumola, who coaches basketball at Mater Spei College and John Mackenzie School.
Going forward, he plans to hold the sporting spectacle in April, ‘when the nights are slightly warmer!’
‘The Big Chems’ was held in honour of the late Chenamani Nkobodo, who sadly passed away last year at the age of 44. Remembered fondly as ‘the gentle giant’, Nkobodo, a basketball fanatic, was a popular member of the Francistown community and was well known for giving back to the underprivileged.
Keeping his ‘spirit of giving’ alive, a food-hamper donation was made at the official opening – no doubt Nkobodo will have approved of the kind gesture as well as the magic that unfolded on court.
In the Streets 10 – 9 BAP Ballers
In the Streets 8 – 7 Netty Shots
Young Blood Basque 18 – 8 And 1
Future 5ers 12 – 7 Squad
The high-flying sport is just 10 minutes long, although games are ended prematurely if one team should reach 21 points.
The action plays out on a half-court, with both sides scoring in the same hoop.
There is a 12-second shot clock and no break in play when a team scores, adding to the sport’s breathless nature.
There is no half-time either, although teams are allowed one time-out each.
Teams comprise of three players each, with one substitute.
One point is awarded for a basket inside the semi-circle while it’s two points for a successful shot from outside the arc.
Having first premiered on the international stage at the 2010 Youth Olympics, 3×3 Basketball’s popularity has soared since then, with the sport debuting at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Latvia are the reigning men’s Olympic champions while the USA scooped the first-ever Gold in the ladies competition.