The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


July 6, 2014

Wild Westside

Chick’s Bar claims crown

ASHTABULA — It wasn’t the prettiest exhibition of textbook basketball. Most coaches would not endorse much of the action as 14 teams took to the court on West 47 Street Saturday for the current edition of the Westside Shootout.

One thing any coach would have been pleased with was the effort put forth by all the players on all the teams. They battled, with many grabs, pushes and hip slams added for good measure. A large crowd of several hundred people, though, did see many former stars come back for another edition of this summer classic in Ashtabula, and they did get to see a local team, Chick’s Bar, come through unbeaten over the day to claim the title in a thriller victory over a tired but game team from Rex, Inc. The final score was 15-5, sparked by the efforts of former Lakeside Dragon star Emilio Parks.

He teamed up with former teammate Ace Jones and other good friends to put on a clinic in team defense in the title game, along with one of the few offensive hot spurts of the day.

Honored with Most Valuable Player honors, Parks stepped into a leadership role with his team by scoring 8 of their 15 points and keying a stifling interior defense against Rex.

Rex was led by former Riverside star Alex Sullivan and former Harvey Red Raider Rayshaun Journigan led a spirited effort at the end of a long day to get Rex to the title game. Had they won, the teams would have been forced to play another game, and after starting the tournament at about 9:30 in the morning, it may have been necessary to line up cars around the court with headlights on for the title tilt, but Chick’s made sure it didn’t happen.

“I felt it was really important for us to remain consistent in how we played,” Parks said. “We had a good rest for a while, and I think it helped because they (Rex) just had to play 3 in a row. That’s tough. I didn’t want us to lose this first game and have to play another, so I did everything I could before the game to get us loose and ready to play. We played great defense today all day, and it was a team effort all the way down the line.”

His teammate, Kevin McCaleb, echoed Parks’ thoughts on defense.

It was defense and great team offense which got Rex out of the loser’s bracket title game to face Chick’s.

“Our main initiative today was to play good, solid team defense,” McCaleb said. “You have to be aggressive all the time, keep your hands up to cut off passing lanes as much as you can, and keep your feet moving. I think we played some great defense today, and it definitely won the championship for us. Rex is a great team, and when everybody was getting tired over the course of the day, when they had to do it, they played great team offense in moving the ball. We saw that, and knew we had to play them tight all the way.”

“I think the fresh paint job on the court was a big factor for everybody today,” Sullivan said. “It was slick all day, but looked great. We were all out here for nearly 12 hours today, starting about 9 this morning, but we can’t make any excuses because everybody played on the same court. We worked hard to reach the title game, but playing 3 in a row late in the day is tough physically, and Chick’s was just way too good for us. It was fun playing today here, though.”

Journigan had a solid day for Rex as well, and realized what got his team to the championship tilt.

“We had to play 3 games in a row after sitting for a while,” he said. “We played hard, and did a good job of playing team basketball, especially when we did get tired. In a spot like that, you just keep moving the ball and try to get good shots. When you cut to the basket, you can get good shots.”

Many players over the course of the day did get good shots.

Many former area stars made their presence felt in thrilling fans with occasional great plays.

Edgewood’s Jarred Artman, who later played at John Carroll, lit things up early with a super slam dunk rebound of a missed teammate’s free throw early in the day for the T-Cats team.

Cody Blizzard hit some big shots for the T-Cats, as well.

Ace Jones was a rebounding machine for Chick’s in the early going before Parks carried the torch in the title tilt.

Another former Dragon from Lakeside, Kyle Downs of Ringer Screen Printing, hit some big shots and was his normal pest defensively for his team.

Until Parks hit his hot streak in the title game, the only other hot streaks of note offensively were put up by former Dragon Harry Story, who hit 4 shots in a row from beyond the arc to led his team, Ducro Services, to the loser’s bracket title match before they fell to Rex.

O’Dell Parker lifted everybody with a sharp shooting display during the day to pace the Staff team.

As the day wore on and legs lost their energy, many players took to shooting from beyond the arc to get their teams through games.

Event coordinators Mike and Bill Osborne, who spent most of the day either keeping score or refereeing, along with Adrian Mathers and Damien Hunt, were tired, but pleased.

“I think we had a really good day today,” Bill said. “A lot of people stayed around most of the time, and with the great weather, we did get a great crowd.”

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