With a championship trophy on the line, tempers flared on Day 2 of the 38th annual Danny R. Wright basketball tournament Saturday at the Odessa College Sports Center.
The biggest shocker of the day was Grustle, the two-time defending champions, being eliminated by Team Unity, 61-52.
Young Bucks shocked Grustle, 48-42, to send the team into the loser’s bracket.
Team Unity had to fight back after suffering an opening-round loss to Team Norman, 44-40.
Bet Dat, which includes recent Permian graduate and incoming Abilene Christian University freshman Brother Miller, knocked off the Midessa Ballers, 50-46, in an elimination game to keep their championship hopes alive.
The tournament got behind schedule. Complete results of the tournament were not available at press time.
To conclude the festivities, there will be a second annual 35-and-older Legends tournament at 1 p.m. today at the Woodson Boys and Girls Club.
With a mixture of young and old players competing, chippier events unfolded on the court. At the conclusion of one game, a few players got into a shoving match.
“I told you there (would) be some new blood and you gotta kind of get them baptized into the tournament, the etiquette of the tournament, how to behave, playing the game with a lot of dignity,” Wright said. “That’s where you get the chippiness from.
“The guys who have been here playing the game, they know we just do this Father’s Day weekend and have a little fun, compete a little bit. Day 2 has been as expected, but it’s getting good.”
Grustle, made up of UTPB alumni, was a little shorthanded on Day 2. The team coasted their way through the first round with a 31-point victory.
Young Bucks, comprised of former Permian athletes like Rob Thomas and Kobe Robinson, are in the semifinals. Team Unity, with former Odessa High standout Jamel Guyton, is usually an odds-on favorite, but they’re trying to fight back into the finals.
“It was a little bit of disarray there,” Wright said. “The team that’s normally competing for the championship is fighting for their neck as well. We got some young bloods that are in the driver’s seat.
“As a matter of fact, two new teams (are) supposed to play to see who goes to the championship in the semifinals.”
Team Norman, a newcomer to the tournament, has a mixture of young and old players. The team was assembled last minute on Wednesday.
Willis Hogan, 34, a Sundown native and member of Team Norman, has enjoyed the competitive edge that the tournament has brought.
“It’s fun. We’re still young. We have a couple cats on our team that are 38, 39, pushing 40,” Hogan said. “The fact of the matter is some of these cats are still in their early 20s.
“It’s just fun to get out here and compete and understanding that at the end of the day it’s all about giving God the glory for abilities and being able to showcase them in front of fans, family and friends.”
Robinson and the Young Bucks edged out some competitive teams by small margins.
“It’s been a great experience just coming back here, putting on a show for the fans, family and friends, and just coming out here and having a good time this Juneteenth,” Robinson said. “It’s a big part of the community.
“We just try to get involved and give the fans what they want. It’s really exciting.”
>> Follow Peter Dindinger on Twitter @OA_PDindinger