Columbus and Raleigh Stars Shine in Season-Opening Red Bull 3X Local Qualifiers
A new season of Red Bull 3X tipped off this weekend with a doubleheader in Columbus and Raleigh, as men’s and women’s players battled for FIBA points on the path to 3x3 greatness. While the sport of 3x3 basketball makes its debut on the grandest stage of all later this summer, these qualifiers in the U.S. offer players a chance to be evaluated for further global competition.
For Columbus, Ohio, native and former WNBA player Alexis Peterson, who was on the Force 10 3x3 squad that was crowned champions at the Red Bull USA Basketball 3X Nationals in June, this qualifier also gave her an opportunity to play in front of her friends and family. Peterson, who ranks second in most points scored for the Syracuse women’s program, has played top-level of basketball in the U.S. and overseas but rarely has in Columbus since graduating high school as four-star recruit in 2013. Peterson catapulted FBSA, which also featured Francesca Frazier (Ball State), Brooklyn Wooten (Walsh) and Sharde Pratt (Ohio State), to the title against Final Four. FBSA proved too much to handle for Final Four as the team won, 22-9, with Peterson draining a two-pointer to seal the victory.
“This was awesome. Coming back home, being from Columbus and being able to play in front of my family, they don’t get to see me play in person,” Peterson said. “Winning it with my friends makes it even better.”
The men’s side saw Columbus native Cordaryl Ballard take his team, BRICK, to a finals run. Ballard, who runs the area’s BRICK League, appeared set to win the qualifier just like he did at the 2019 Red Bull 3X Cleveland qualifier. In the championship game, however, Ballard’s team was upset by 3BALL Indy, 21-12. Ball State alumnus Tayler Persons recruited two other Ball State alumni, Ryan Weber and Devin Thomas, and brought in Joshua Thompson (Indiana State). 3BALL Indy survived the competitive, physical Championship game, thanks in part to the sharp shooting of Weber. With the score at 12-9 with just over three minutes to go, Weber hit back-to-back 2-pointers that sent host and commentator Young Wayne crazy and gave 3BALL Indy a commanding 16-9 lead.
“When Ryan hit the back-to-back [twos], he was struggling a little bit today, but he’s our best shooter by far,” Persons said. “That’s my best friend. I told him, ‘You have to hit a couple, and we’ll win some money,’ and he did it.”
In Raleigh, Team Duke and 3BALL Omaha proved to be worth of the crowns. On the women’s side, a team comprised of players from Duke University won the finale in convincing fashion over The Bulls, with sharp shooting and quick passing that allowed them to excel in the 3x3 format.
Duke guard Miela Goodchild spoke on why they decided to put a team together to compete.
“Coach Kara Lawson coaches USA for 3x3, so we wanted to put a team together and help support the culture of 3x3 basketball,” Goodchild said. “It’s really been fun.”
Her teammate Nyah Green spoke on a few takeaways from the 3x3 format that they’re going to apply to their game.
“We’re going to keep playing fast, keep playing up-tempo,” Green said. “Keep looking for each other and playing together.”
On the men’s side, reigning Red Bull 3X National Champions 3BALL Omaha proved too much to handle. The crew reached 21 in every single game played, never needing the full 10 minutes to secure a victory. In the championship game, the champs defeated The Killas, a team featuring Raleigh resident and former NBA player Quincy Miller, 21-4. 3BALL Omaha has experience and chemistry on their side. They’ve been playing together as a team for a few years and know 3x3 better than most.
“The big thing for us today was transition,” said Trey Bardsley, MVP of the 3X Nationals. “We do a really good job of transitioning from defense to offense, then getting back guarding people. Some of the newer teams have a harder time with that and getting used to the game. It’s quick, it’s grueling. It’s pretty physical, and you have to be in good shape. The style is different, but it’s a lot of fun.”
3BALL Omaha plans to keep up their winning ways and head to 10 other qualifiers across the country the rest of the season.
3x3 is played on a half court with a 10-minute game clock and 12-second shot clock. The winner is the first team to score 21 points or the team in the lead at the end of the 10-minute regulation. The bursts of action and short games leave little room for error, and teams that catch fire become very hard to handle with all the court space 3x3 allows players.
With the first two Red Bull 3X qualifiers down, the search continues to help identify the players who could potentially represent USA Basketball’s 3x3 men’s and women’s national teams in the future. Another doubleheader gets going in Charlotte and Chicago on July 17.
The winning teams at these qualifiers will have an opportunity to advance to the Red Bull USA Basketball 3X Regionals in the fall, and then to the Red Bull USA Basketball 3X Nationals, which will help determine the talent pool used to select the USA 3x3 Men’s and Women’s National Teams.
Registration for every event remains open till tipoff for anyone who wants their shot at being the next 3x3 star.
RED BULL 3X LOCAL QUALIFIER (Columbus)
MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP BRACKET
- 3BALL Indy – Tayler Persons (Ball State), Joshua Thompson (Ball State), Ryan Weber (Ball State), Devin Thomas (Indiana State)
- Team BRICK – Cordaryl Ballard (USC Aiken), Todd Brown Jr. (Wright State), Demetrious Treadwell (Akron), Courtney Pigram (East Tennessee)
WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP BRACKET
- FBSA – Alexis Peterson (Syracuse), Francesca Frazier (Ball State), Brooklyn Wooten (Walsh), Sharde Pratt (Ohio State)
- Final Four – Tayler Mingo (Wright State), Ivory James (Wright State), Courtney Ingersoll (Toledo), Niki DiGuilio (Central Michigan)
RED BULL 3X LOCAL QUALIFIER (Raleigh)
MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP BRACKET
- 3BALL Omaha – Klaye Rowe, Trey Bardsley, Trey Lansman, Dylan Travis
- Team TNT – Tyrell Tate, Marcus Thornton, Quincy Miller, Prince Williams
WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP BRACKET
- Duke – Vanessa DeJesus, Miela Goodchild, Lee Volker, Nyah Green
- The Bulls – Tameika Brooks, Jamaisha Ward, Karrisa Morris, Shuanda Ashford
For more information, please visit www.redbull.com/3X.