The Las Vegas Invitational is a basketball tournament that brings in players from all around the west coast from as far as Hawaii. The tournament has been going on for the last 19 years and has a fascinating history with downtown Vegas. I was kindly invited to play along side with many of my Monday night Narbonne Basketball group and I was excited to participate in an actual timed/ref’d game. The tournament consists of 10 divisions with 8 teams each, with one game friday night, and two games saturday afternoon, with the championship game held at 3pm on Saturday.
When we all met at the Veterans Memorial Leisure Services Center in Summerlin which was 20 minutes outside the strip it was interesting to get the team together as a whole for the first time. We had a deep team with ten players, whereas most of our opponents only had between seven to eight. The team had a good mix of heights, skills, and age groups to take on our challengers and we felt good going into the games.
I was actually picked to start the games, and i think it paid off because i already knew how three of the other four players played so we were able to communicate well with out many words. Game 1 was pretty messy in the beginning with most of us, especially me find my legs, and my stroke but once the jitters left we went on a roll to go on to win the game. I made a few outside shots and a drive to the basket and did my best on defense.
Game 2 happened on Saturday morning at 10am after a semi late night with a little drinking mixed in. If Game 1 was messy, Game 2 was a disaster. After the first few minutes my left leg started cramping up and i was barely able to contribute anything worthwhile during the game. We were actually up by double digits by half but squandered it away with four minutes left to play. Try as we might we ended up in the third place game a few hours later.
During the break between games my leg really started to cramp up more, and initially was going to drive to Chinatown for a massage, but my sister advised against it. Another player had a large a salonpas that wrapped the area and i just kept massaging it lightly for a half hour and worked out most of the pain. Other players also showed up with cramps, and another hurt his knee bad enough the game before not to be able to play.
Game 3 we played fast and hard, and it showed with another double digit lead going into half time. Our bench players who really could’ve ran the other team out of the gym and even giving up most of our lead we late in the second half we got out of there with a 2-1 record and third place under our belt. After the game even as happy as we were to get 3rd we knew that we should have been in the championship game.
I had a really great time playing for the team, and hope they invite me back on the team next year. I already planted my seeds of being on it by offering to come up with a new Mixed Plate jersey design. Check out the video compliation of the highs, lows and in betweens.