In a college town such as Carbondale, it can be difficult for students and residents to come together.
Mike Luczkiw, a 2011 SIU alumnus, said he kept that in mind when he organized Saturday’s Vine Church 3-on-3 basketball tournament.
“It’s cool seeing basketball be the center of something like that to get people together,” he said.
The tournament was held in the church’s recreation building where men and women of all ages competed for the championship. It was the church’s first time hosting the tournament, but Luczkiw said he plans to bring the tournament back in the future. The church is also hosting a flag football league this fall.
“You Mad Bro?,” a team with four college males, finished first of the 33 teams. They won a $100 gift card to Dick’s Sporting Goods for their win.
Carbondale resident and church member Matt Duckworth said he enjoyed the tournament’s variation of competitors.
“We had people from all different backgrounds. We had people who are down here for school and people that live here and grew up here. (There were) people from different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds,” he said.
Jared Tichacek, a Carbondale High School senior, said he enjoyed playing people from different age groups. His team, “five guys,” lost in the second round.
“I thought the competition was really intense,” he said. “It was fun because there was a lot of higher-level competition.”
Tichacek plays on the Carbondale High School basketball team and said he thought the tournament was good preparation for the upcoming season.
Shawn Ford, a graduate student in criminal justice, said he enjoyed the mix of people and skill levels. Ford is a member of the church, but he said he saw some new faces.
“I play here in the mornings sometimes, but just to play with new people was fun,” he said.
His team consisted of three males and two females and lost to Tichacek’s squad.
Duckworth said he enjoyed the competition he saw in the tournament.
“It got pretty heated at times, because everyone wanted to win,” he said.
Duckworth said the winning team was able to pull away from the others because it got hot at the right time. He said there was good competition amongst all the teams.
Duckworth said his favorite aspect of the tournament was meeting new people.
“(I enjoyed) seeing people come into the building that I’ve never met before,” he said. “Clearly, you can look at them and see that they’re from a different place. That’s a cool experience.”