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Season-ending basketball tourney around the corner

July 25, 2018
By TIFFANY REPECKI ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

The city of Sanibel's 3-on-3 adult basketball league will wrap up its season this week with an annual tournament, and the community is invited to come out and root on the teams.

Sponsored by Whitney's Bait & Tackle, the competition will take place on July 26 at the Sanibel Recreation Center. All half-court games, the first two will kick off at 6 p.m., with the team J.R. Smith's Pre Game facing off against Island Ballers and Next Level Church up against The Chee-Pointers.

One winner will face team Fuego and the other will battle Top Notch, both at 6:40 p.m.

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Team Top Notch plays against team Fuego on Court 1 at the Sanibel Recreation Center on July 19, as team Next Level Church battles it out in the background on Court 2 with team Island Ballers.

The consolation bracket games will follow at approximately 7:15 p.m., with the match to settle third place set for 7:50 p.m. The championship game to decide this year's top team will be held at 8:20 p.m.

Char Durand, the center's program coordinator, explained that it is the third season for the league.

"We started by offering in the month of February just a tournament," she said.

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Because of the interest, they decide to hold a full season the next year, complete with a season-ending tourney. They had three teams sign up in the first year; this season, eight teams stepped up to play.

"Every year, it's grown," Durand said.

Players must be at least 18 years old, but their ages vary and their backgrounds do, too.

"It's for everyone," she said, noting that there are recreational players and some who played collegiate basketball, island business owners and their employees, even island residents and non-residents.

"They're mixed," Durand said. "Some even have team sponsors and some don't."

All of the games are officiated, with trophies going to the top tournament teams.

Fort Myers resident Aaron Robinson, who plays on team Top Notch, explained that he initially participated in the stand-alone tourney and he has been taking part in the league ever since.

"I love it," he said. "I wish they would do it three times a year."

Robinson described the center as the "best around" in the region, adding that the staff is friendly.

"It's fun to see new faces, too," he said of the players. "Not see the same guys all the time."

While Robinson focused more on football in school, basketball always had a place.

"It's my go-to if I'm ever stressed," he said. "It's a hobby."

Sanibel resident Anthony Aracri, on team Nothin But Net, is the middle school basketball and soccer coach at The Sanibel School. He explained that one reason he participates is it is a great workout.

"It's competitiveness and exercise," Aracri said.

He noted that each game consists of two 15-minute halves with a break.

"That's your 30-minute cardio for the day," Aracri said.

He pointed out the camaraderie as another plus.

"We have a lot of young kids that come from off-island to play," Aracri said, explaining that they help challenge one's skills. "It's like rec ball to have fun, but then there's a lot of competitive players."

"It's a lot of fun," he added.

One player who knows about competition is Rui Carmo, with team Fuego. The Cape Coral resident played ball in college for Green Mountain, leading the nation in scoring in 2010 for Division III.

He explained that he heard about the island league through friends.

"They said it's a beautiful facility," Carmo said. "We're always looking to play indoors."

He noted that it is well organized and officiated, and the players are skilled.

"If there were bigger crowds to come and watch, it would be epic," Carmo said.

Past his college playing days, he called the sport recreational fun now.

"It's my reprieve, it's my happy place," Carmo said, pointing out that studies show doing something one loves or is passionate about helps to increase overall happiness. "It brings up your quality of life."

The community is encouraged to stop by for the games.

"It's fun to watch and it's enjoyable," Durand said. "At the top end, we've got some very skilled players."

Each team is made up of five players who split the registration fee. This season, it cost $193 per team for those with a center member on their team or $252 for teams that did not have a center member.

For more information about the league, call 239-472-0345.

The Sanibel Recreational Center is at 3880 Sanibel Captiva Road.



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