Thornburg Insurance wins tourney
SPRING VALLEY -- As Thornburg Insurance's Joda Burgess ran down the court with Team Riggs' captain Jamie Riggs in Sunday afternoon's "A" Division championship game at the Valleyball 3-on-3 tournament, the tournament took a step back to the beginnings of its growth.
There was the grit, the hustle, the disagreements on foul calls and everything associated with street hoops with bragging rights on the line.
But there was also mutual respect between two friends who have been battling for a long time and have helped build the event into one of the premier tournaments in the area.
It was fitting to see the two chatting it up on the court as they looked to be the last team standing.
"I think my first year was '97, but back then, there were only 14 or 15 teams in it," Burgess said. "We played in it for 9-10 straight years against each other before I took a few years off. Here we are in 2013, both of us in our 30s and doing this crazy stuff still.
"I looked at him at one point in the game and said, 'How are we still here doing this?' Every year we've been doing this, we've played in the championship against each other."
wvwIn the end, Burgess and Thornburg Insurance got the 54-46 win in the 'A' Division championship after Team Riggs had forced a winner-take-all game with an overtime win in the first championship of the double-elimination tournament.
While Burgess -- the former Marshall standout -- and Riggs grabbed most of the attention, it was the play of former Huntington High and Tennessee hoopster Tanner Wild that sparked the win.
Wild, who drove in from Atlanta for the tournament, scored 13 of his team-high 18 points in the second half to lead Thornburg to the victory.
"I told everybody that if I lost again, I didn't know if I could come back," Wild said. "That's a long trip and I just couldn't take losing the title again."
Wild said the 7 1/2-hour journey will be a much-easier one now that he has the title under his belt, but what keeps bringing him back is the atmosphere of the tournament and those fun matchups, such as the one with Riggs and Burgess.
"I think it's awesome because those guys who are a little bit older come out here and they really compete and battle with us younger guys," Wild said. "I watched Joda at Marshall and it's awesome to come out here and play on a team with him after having watched him with the Herd."
In the 'B' Division, Fear the Beard came back from the loser's bracket to win two straight games over Western Southern, including a 62-58 win in the winner-take-all title game.
For team captain Dave Kazee, it was his first title in 10 years of playing in the Valleyball Tournament, and he was thrilled to don the champions T-shirt -- the only prize other than bragging rights that goes to the victors.
Kazee said he looks forward to defending his title next year and is already looking forward to the 2014 edition of the three-day tournament.
"I'll always come back until I can't do it anymore," Kazee said. "It's a reunion every year."
While Kazee had been around for a little while, the tournament was the first for former Chesapeake standout Javon Thompson, who finished with 25 points to lead Fear The Beard.
TEAM RIGGS 22 24 - 46: Riggs 13, Burns 20, Lamb 9, Weed 4
THORNBURG INSURANCE 26 28 - 54: Burgess 11, Yeager 16, Wild 18, Hall 9
WESTERN SOUTHERN 37 21 - 58: Jordan 14, Jackson 22, Roark 9, Claxon 5, Evans 8
FEAR THE BEARD 43 19 - 62: Thompson 25, Fuller 16, Rowe 14, Kazee 4, Combs 3