• June 26, 2019

OPD basketball tournament provides constructive outlet during holidays - Odessa American: Law Enforcement

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OPD basketball tournament provides constructive outlet during holidays

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Posted: Thursday, December 27, 2018 2:33 pm

Former Odessan Luis Madrid was visiting family and friends during the holiday break.

For the second year in a row, the 17-year-old from San Antonio participated in the Odessa Police Department’s three-on-three youth basketball tournament.

Madrid along with Odessa High’s Matthew Herrera, 17, and Permian’s Marcos Romo, 17, won the 15 to 17 year old age bracket on Thursday at Bonham Middle School Gym.

“It’s not too physical. It’s mostly just for fun,” said Madrid, who currently attends Brennan High School and previously went to school at Permian when he lived in Odessa. “We get to see what type of competition is out there.”

OPD hosted its second straight three-on-three youth basketball tournament as Cpl. Michael Hamilton explained it’s important for children to have a constructive outlet during the holiday break.

The basketball tournament was free to participate and each team was allowed up to five players — three on the court at a time — with two age groups, 12 to 14 year olds and 15 to 17 year olds. There were multiple games being played at the same time with members of the OPD keeping score.

“Last year, it was a good time and that’s what we tried to do again this year,” Hamilton said. “Last year he had a bunch of teams show up, this year we are a little low, but they are out here having fun and that’s the main thing. It gives them something to do. It lets us be engaged with them and it gives them something constructive to do.”

Madrid said he used to play basketball competitively, but he’s focused on graduating this spring.

During the tournament, Madrid, Herrera and Romo formed the team “Big Ballers” and picked up three straight victories to win their age bracket’s championship.

“In the second game, we were a little off, but other than that we were making out shots,” Madrid said about the team’s play during the tournament. “We all played well together and that’s how basketball is supposed to be.”

Though he primarily served as tournament organizer and DJ, Hamilton nearly saw action on the court when a team showed up short-handed, but other kids stepped up at the last minute.

Hamilton had come prepared, if needed, in his No. 42 jersey.

“I’m pretty sure the kids would run me up and down this court. I might be an old man compared to them, but I can still get down a little,” Hamilton said with a laugh.

After the tournament’s second year, Hamilton said he hopes it continues to be an opportunity for children to have a competitive outlet during the holiday break.

“The whole purpose of this is to give (children) something to do,” he said. “Juveniles get bored and they want to do something. A lot of times, it goes to destructive rather than constructive things to do. We’ve had juveniles shooting cars with BB guns or egging cars. If they have something like this to look forward to, it gives them constructive to do.

“Last year, I had a team come through that had gotten caught egging and doing things like that. I didn’t let them play, but they are here today. I got to keep up with them throughout the school year, checking on them and showing that we care.”

Odessa, TX

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