JUNETEENTH: Competitive games highlight Day 1 of Danny R. Wright tourney

There were blowouts.

There were competitive games.

But all in all, basketball players young and old were having fun playing the game they love.

Day 1 of the 38th annual Danny R. Wright tournament was a success Friday night at the Odessa College Sports Center.

Team Unity, which is comprised of former Permian and Odessa High players, lost a nail-biter to Team Norman, 44-40.

Grustle, the two-time defending champions, coasted past the Midessa Ballers, 74-43. Grustle will play the Young Bucks at 10:10 a.m. Saturday in the winner’s bracket.

The Young Bucks edged out Just Wanna Ball, 45-44, in Game 1.

To close out the night, Bet Dat soared over IHOB, 56-30. Bet Dat meets Team Norman for the second game of the winner’s bracket at 11 a.m. Saturday.

“Overall, we had a couple of delights. Team Unity played an unfamiliar foe and they kind of folded on that,” Wright said. “I gotta feeling they’ll come back and play strong, but it’s gonna be extremely good tomorrow if our patrons in Odessa enjoy Saturday basketball.

“I like the fact that our teams are competitive. That’s what I enjoy.”

For the last 12 years, Jamel Guyton, a former Odessa High Broncho, Odessa College Wrangler and Louisiana Tech standout, has been participating in the tourney.

It’s always a special moment for Guyton, 30, when he steps back onto the court that was once home for him. This year, Guyton got to play alongside some other former Odessa College Wranglers like Desmond Woodberry, Melvin Baker and Rashad Savage.

“It’s a lot of fun just to be able to get back out here with some of the old guys,” Guyton said. “Of course, right now, I’m getting a little older. It’s getting a little tougher for me.

“I really wish a lot more people would come out and attend the basketball tournament. Some of the guys that play on my team right now … those guys played right here on that court. It’s a lot of fun to bring those guys back. It’s a great feeling to just come out here and relive it.”

Fans packed the Community Court at the Sports Center to cheer on the girls’ high school and youth division tourney, which will resume at 9 a.m. Saturday.

There were sounds of laughter along with the sound of cheers and friendly jeers. In the end the tournament brings out the positive side of the community that’s usually foreshadowed.

Permian grad and current Texas Wesleyan player Rob Thomas always looks forward to the tourney.

“It’s just good to be back in my hometown,” Thomas said. “(I) get to see some familiar faces and play like we did back in the day, and just cherish all the moments and times that we played.

“I just think it brings a lot of positivity. You see a lot about the negative side of Odessa, but they don’t bring out the positive. It does a lot for our community and the people in the community. I just thank God I get to do it again. This is a big thing to me. It means a lot.”