Heytvelt returns a champion after world-wide excursion
Josh Heytvelt may be a one-and-done kind of guy when it comes to Hoopfest, but he made it a good one.
Heyvelt was the center of attention in front of nearly 2,000 spectators at center court on Sunday, scoring a team-high eight points as he and Douglass Properties teammates David Pendergraft, Brian Michaelson and Nik Raivio beat Red Monkey 20-11 in the men’s 6-foot-and-over elite division championship.
Raivio, who played in the West Coast Conference at Portland and is former Gonzaga point guard Derek Raivio’s younger brother, hit Heytvelt with an impressive alley-oop to put the finishing touches on Red Monkey.
“It’s awesome to put some hardware back on the shelf,” said Heytvelt, who was named MVP.
“(My teammates) were saying (I’d be named MVP) the whole time, and I was like, ‘No way you guys look like you’re working way harder than I am,’” Heytvelt added. “I guess it just happened … I was bigger than most people out there the last two days.”
Heytvelt, who played with Pendergraft and Michaelson at Gonzaga, spent the last two years playing pro basketball in Europe and hadn’t played in Hoopfest since high school. But when Pendergraft, a childhood friend, asked him to return to the streets of downtown Spokane for the world’s largest 3-on-3 outdoor basketball tournament, he couldn’t refuse.
“Coming back to play with Pendo, Mike and Nik – it’s some of the funnest basketball I’ve played in years,” the 6-foot-11 former Bulldog and Clarkston High star said. “When Pendo asked me to come play … I couldn’t turn him down,” Heytvelt said. “I was happy to be here. I might be a one-and-done guy, but if I have the opportunity to play with Pendo (again), I probably will.”
Former University of Washington standout Breanne Watson experienced a first on Sunday when she missed two free throws, which would have secured a third-straight women’s elite division title for team TBA.
Instead, teammate Lindsey Wilson drained the final bucket and along with teammates Casey Bunn and Amy Lefotu, TBA defeated Three And A Half 20-17 for the threepeat.
“I tried to make them, I really did,” Watson joked. “But I would be mad to lose to another team on free throws, and I didn’t want to win that way, either. That’s the first time I’ve been sort of happy I missed free throws.”
A late roster change turned out well for Strokesville.
Chris Gross, who was named MVP, got the call to play at 5 p.m. on Friday from teammate Eric Beal, a North Central grad who played at the Community Colleges of Spokane and Whitworth.
Gross, Beal and teammates Dustin Beach (Reardan) and Ferris grad Jon Clift defeated Desert Horse 20-17 in the men’s 6-foot-and-under elite division final.
“It was tough, but it was awesome to win this trophy,” said Gross, a Pasco native.
Desert Horse (J.R. Camel, Matt Ludtke, Zack Camel and Preston Wynne) finished second for the second straight year.
Tevis a slam dunk
After being eliminated in the first round in last year’s slam dunk contest, Ian Tevis was going big, or going home empty-handed.
The Federal Way, Wash., native – playing in his second Hoopfest – defeated Kenny Chandler in the dunk contest final, judged by former Gonzaga players Robert Sacre and Jeremy Pargo.
“He missed his and I didn’t want to just throw down an easy dunk,” Tevis said.
“It’s crazy, I didn’t know I was going to get this,” he added, proudly holding up his trophy. “This is going on my wall. I like it. I’m going to have to come back and get another one of these next year.”