DC Hoopers Take Center Court at USA Basketball's Red Bull 3X Qualifier
Tight scores and fast play was the theme of the day for both the women and men at USA Basketball’s Red Bull 3X qualifier in Washington D.C. on Saturday, with Force 10 and Georgia Fire taking the crowns, respectively.
A mix of recreational athletes, former college players, NBA alumni (Ty Lawson) and international pros went head-to-head in DC — a basketball-rich city known for being loaded with talent. In attendance also was 2022 WNBA All-Defense First Team and Washington Mystics guard Natasha Cloud, giving the players an additional spark of energy.
The women’s final pitted Force 10, comprised of all former Ivy League athletes, against Big Cats, featuring Andrea Riley who is set to be inducted into the Oklahoma State Hall of Fame. Ultimately, Force 10’s size helped the former Ivy Leaguers defeat Big Cats with former WNBA player and Princeton standout Blake Dietrick leading the way. Despite all going to Ivy League, the group, featuring Dietrick, Leslie Robinson (Princeton), Lakin Roland (Dartmouth) and Camille Zimmerman (Columbia) had never all played together.
“I’m glad we could get the win,” Dietrick added, who played in front of a large group of supporters including her fiancé, brother and friends. “Hopefully some new people saw 3-on-3 for the first time, learned about it and we can grow the game.”
The men’s side continued to bring the intensity to the banks of the Potomac River. Eight teams dwindled down to the final, which saw Georgia Fire from Atlanta go against Ball is Life Midwest, a rematch from 2021.
In a tightly contested seesaw battle, Georgia Fire defeated Ball is Life Midwest 21-20 on a game-winning layup by Paul Parks to solidify the victory. The layup only came after a heartbreaking shot clock violation on Ball is Life Midwest that negated a three-pointer from guard Evan Forhertz.
“This is what we do,” Georgia Fire’s PJ Meyers (Life University) said. “We come out and take care of business. Take care of one mission and that’s to win.”
Georgia Fire, consisting of Meyers, Devon Baulkman (Tennessee), Joshua Montgomery (Savannah State), and Parks (Point University), will seek to continue taking care of business next weekend in its hometown of Atlanta, Georgia at the last Red Bull 3X qualifier of the year, before the regionals in a few weeks.
As the winning teams, Force 10 and Georgia Fire each take home a $3,500 prize purse.
RED BULL 3X (WASHINGTON D.C.)
WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP BRACKET
MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP BRACKET
For more information, please visit www.redbull.com/3X. Follow @redbullusa #redbullhoops.