An open lane, a clear shot at the basket and all of a sudden... smack! This year, ballers from Kamloops and beyond really put the "block" in the Summer League Block Party.
As part of the city's first Bank 3 Basketball Tournament, players from Thompson Rivers University, Vancouver, Salmon Arm and even Calgary descended on downtown Kamloops for two days of fast-paced three-on-three action.
"There's a lot of surprises. People who didn't hear we are doing the event can't believe that we have basketball tournament on Victoria Street in downtown Kamloops," says Carl DeSantis, executive director of the Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association (KCBIA).
But if the tournament was a surprise to some local residents, DeSantis says they should get used to this sort of thing.
"It will not be the last. This is the first of many to come," he says. "We're setting the foundation this year so we can develop a reputation and the feedback we're receiving from some of the teams, particularly some of the out of town teams, is very positive."
DeSantis says he and KCBIA president Dino Bernardo had batted the idea of a tournament around once before, but it only really took off this year when they enlisted the help of Sean Garvey to run things.
"We just felt that it was overdue," says Garvey. "Basketball is booming in this city: I call it the 'Kelly Olynk effect' because every little kid is playing basketball in this town. You look in the news right now, all it is the Raptors and basketball so we just thought it was time."
Garvey recruited 16 teams this year. He says he was aiming for over 30 but they couldn't get support from the high school level this time around. The hope is that moving forward, they'll be able to expand to more blocks and more age groups.
Let the games begin! #Kamloops Mayor @ken_kchristian throwing out the opening tip to begin a weekend of 3-on-3 #Basketball in #DowntownKamloops . Join us and cheer on the teams. pic.twitter.com/3tVqFKUsN8— Carl (@NeverABlindEye) June 1, 2019
"As this has gone on people are hearing about it and making their way down to the courts, so hopefully we knock this out of the park," says Garvey.
He also made a point of highlighting the efforts of organizer Jesse Faubert of Common Sound, who was "the brains behind" the music set up for the block party, as well as tomorrow's Toronto Raptors watch party.
In terms of the actual game-play, the quality of basketball was good for such a hot day. With a 12-second shot clock and players just needing to clear the ball behind the three-point line before scoring, games were fast-paced and nail-bitingly close.
Micheal Rouault who plays with the TRU WolfPack, put together a squad with a few of his teammates. He says the talent level was pretty strong as they narrowly edged out a team from Vancouver in their first game.
"It's looking pretty good. Tough first game for us but we squeaked out a win," he says
Rouault and his teammates are relishing the chance to play some three-on-three, noting its more loose than their usual practices.
"No coach out there too, so you can do whatever you want," he says. "It's nice."
The tournament continues tomorrow starting at 9 a.m.