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Vol. LXIII, No. 13
June 24, 2011
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NIH B-Ballers Take to Court in Heated Competition

A nine-banded armadillo A nine-banded armadillo

Above, playing defense occasionally required a balletic leap. At right, the audience for the games could sit either courtside or on a patio looking down on the court. Viewers moved wooden chairs from the Bldg. 10 patio to the ledge overlooking the court for a better look.

Look out LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki. We’ve got your number!

Baseline jumpers, fadeaway bank shots and tenacious defense were all hot items as more than 100 NIH hoopsters went toe-to-toe on a newly built basketball/sports court outside Lipsett Amphitheater in a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, May 25-26. This was the second year that the popular event has been held.

Each team in the tournament had to have at least one female player.
Each team in the tournament had to have at least one female player.
Hands up on defense was good strategy.
Hands up on defense was good strategy.

Coping with 90-degree temperatures and high humidity, an assembly of cheering fans supported 32 teams participating in the tourney, which coincided with the semi-finals of the NBA championship series. The event was sponsored by the Office of the Director, Office of AIDS Research, the Office of Research Services and its Division of Amenities and Transportation Services as part of the “Spring into Health” Initiative. The program ran throughout the month of May, offering a variety of wellness and sporting activities for employees.

The coveted NIH roundball crown was secured by “The Expendables,” a team that happily proved not to live up to its name. The group won five games to bring home the title. Team captain Terry Mundell, from the Division of Extramural Activities, NIMH, noted that the championship did not come easily. “It was hot, people on every team were tired and sore, but we fought through it all to come out on top. The hunger and determination to win was what led us to ultimate victory in the final round.”

Other members of the triumphant squad included OD employees RonPatrick Merriwether, Anibal Watkins and Amira Langham, as well as Jennifer Simmons of NIMH.

A nine-banded armadillo A nine-banded armadillo
There was not much room out of bounds for players on the outdoor court; one false move and it’s a brick kiss. The Expendables took the title in this year’s 3-on-3 basketball tournament. They are (from l) Terry Mundell, Amira Langham, Anibal Watkins and RonPatrick Merriwether. Jennifer Simmons is not pictured. At right is Chris Gaines of ORS, who helped organize the event.

Rules for the 3-on-3 tournament were straightforward. Each team had to play at least one female on the court at all times and could consist of no more than five players on each team. A running 15-minute clock was used, fouls would be called, but no foul shots would be taken and winning teams would move on to play another game—single elimination applied. Qualified referees were on hand to oversee the contests, which took place on half-courts rather than the full court, to accommodate more players.

This is what’s known as a clean look at the hoop All eyes are on the ball in these scenes from the May 25-26 tournament, played on a new outdoor court on the east side of Bldg. 10.
All eyes are on the ball in these scenes from the May 25-26 tournament, played on a new outdoor court on the east side of Bldg. 10. All eyes are on the ball in these scenes from the May 25-26 tournament, played on a new outdoor court on the east side of Bldg. 10.

All eyes are on the ball in these scenes from the May 25-26 tournament, played on a new outdoor court on the east side of Bldg. 10.

Photos: Ernie Branson

Enthusiasm, passion for the game and camaraderie were apparent to all who participated. “Our win signifies the importance of teamwork and what can be accomplished when you believe in yourself. I will definitely compete again next year,” said Simmons, a baller from the winning team.NIHRecord Icon


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