Hundreds of basketball players from all over the area gathered in Honesdale this past weekend to take part in the 14th Annual Luke Rickard Memorial 3-on-3 Tournament.

Basketball players, coaches and fans from all over the area turned up this weekend to participate in the 14th Annual Luke Rickard Memorial 3-on-3 Tournament. The event tipped-off Saturday morning and was once again hosted by the Honesdale boys basketball program.

“We’re thrilled with the turnout, with the high level of competition and with the good sportsmanship showed by everyone involved,” Hornet Coach Tim Wood told TWI Sports. “Personally, I feel like the tournament captured the spirit of a fine young man who died tragically and far too young.”

Luke Rickard was just 16-years-old when he lost his life in a swimming accident. Less than a year after Luke’s passing, Ron Rowe approached his family with the idea of a memorial basketball tournament. Luke was a hard-working, energetic and happy young man.

According to Coach Rowe, he had a very bright future ahead of him in the sport he loved. Hence, founding such a commemorative event and using the proceeds to establish a scholarship fund proved to be a no-brainer.

Over the course of the past 14 years, the Luke Rickard Tournament has handed out more than $13,000 in scholarships to deserving Honesdale hoopsters. Each year, one senior boys player receives the annual award. The selection is made by the high school principal with input from members of the coaching staff and the approval of the Rickard Family.

This year’s edition of the tournament attracted more than 40 teams and 150 players. These squads were divided up into several brackets, each of which then competed in a double-elimination format. Men & women, boys & girls of all different abilities took part in the event, which was witnessed by several hundred enthusiastic fans.

Tournament directors for the ‘08 event were Ron Rowe, Tim Wood and Maria West. Jen Robey, Bethany Reynolds and Jared Bennett contributed many hours of tireless work as student assistants. All three are helping out with the Rickard Tournament as part of their senior project.

Court Masters in the high school and middle school gyms included: Andrew Rickard, Ryan Phillips, Dusty Roberts, Mike Birmelin, Bob Martin, Bobby Rowe, Bob Rogers, Mike Miller and Dick Roberts.

Gold Medals
From a competitive standpoint, headliners at this year’s Rickard Tournament included teams captained by Robin Avery and Dusty Roberts. Each squad added yet another line to an already impressive hoops legacy.

Avery, one of the most prolific scorers ever to emerge from the Wayne County basketball scene, led her team on an undefeated rampage through the adult bracket. Robin’s squad was sponsored by State Farm and included Brooks Estadt, Craig Rickard and Jeff Yadlosky.

State Farm rolled to four straight wins en route to a fourth consecutive title. The defending champs cruised in its title tilt encounter against a team led by coaches Wood and Birmelin. The final score was 21-8.

Meanwhile, in the high school bracket, “DC-3” was equally impressive in winning its fourth straight crown. Dusty Roberts, Ryan Phillips, Andrew Rickard and Steven Ace won five games including a 21-10 laugher in the finals.

Other team that posted individual bracket wins included:
•“Hot Hands” (Cole McConnell, Kyle Carney, Noah Box, Jake Gregory): this team captured the boys 5th & 6th grade crown with a 21-15 win over the “Downtown Dunksters.”
•“Grape Jelly” (Michaella Carey, Casey Gaul, Jenna Borkowski, Abby Carmody): this squad won the 7th & 8th grade girls title via a 22-18 victory over the “Sizzling Snipers.”
•“Mutombos” (Adam Rogers, Steve Moss, Cody Dirlam): this team held on for a thrilling 22-20 win in the junior high boys championship game after suffering a 22-20 loss in the semis.
•“T-Max” (Kevin Lane, Jordan Rogers, Jesse Mellin, Tom McCurdy): this squad went 3-1 en route to a 21-15 victory in the high school boys title tilt.
•“Mountain Dew” (Morgen Hatton, Nick Hessling, Mike Kussoff): this trio defeated the “Champs” in the 7th & 8th grade boys final. “Mountain Dew” rolled to a perfect 5-0 record and won the crown with a 21-16 decision.
•“Highland Physicians” (Kelli Lateer, Kacie Johannes, Caitlin Silsby, Kathy Pietraszewski, Natasha Freethy): this squad took home honors in the women’s-only adult bracket.

“I’m very happy with how everything went,” said Coach Wood in conclusion. “We always get great support from the school and the community. I’m hoping this tournament goes on for many more years so we can help kepp Luke’s spirit alive.”