ASHTABULA — Tony Powell called himself the Dan Marino of the West-Side Shootout.
The Shootout legend is the only player to have competed in a tournament championship game in four different decades. But, like the Hall of Fame Miami Dolphins quarterback, he never won a title.
Until Friday when Powell, a 58-year-old Ashtabula native, took first place in the 3-point shootout at the West Avenue basketball courts.
“I came here on a mission,” Powell said. “... I wanted to dedicate the victory to my dad, Gus Powell. He’s one of the greatest men in Ashtabula history and he was 70 years old and he was still running 8 miles a night down at Smith Field every night. He died at 72, so the least I can do at 58 is come out here and win a 3-point shootout contest, so I feel good.”
Powell’s title performance coincided with plenty of drama.
Shooters fired five shots from each of the five designated spots on the court and went around the arc twice for a total of 50 attempts. After every competitor went, four were tied for the lead at 19 — reigning champion Kurt Snyder, Kurt’s son Mataio Snyder, Marcus Parker and Powell.
Both Snyders kicked off the tie-breaking round of 25 more shots and both cashed in nine. Powell went third. He made three of his first 10, then, from each of the next two stations, went 3-for-5 to tie the Snyders at nine with five more attempts remaining.
Powell missed each of his first four. After receiving the ball for his final shot, Powell took a deep breath, bounced the ball a few times, then drained it from the right corner.
When Parker, the final competitor, missed the deciding shot, Powell raised both of his hands high in the air in celebratory fashion. He then received props from each of his opponents.
“It was very competitive and that’s what made it that much more rewarding,” Powell said. “First championship out of all the championship heartbreaking losses — now I’ve finally earned this.”
More champions will be crowned today, as the ladies, boys high school and men’s tournament will all wrap up.
Mike Osborne, who runs the West-Side Shootout with his brother, Bill, said the goal is to start the boys high school around 9:30-9:45 in the morning. The men’s will follow shortly after and the ladies championship will be played some time in between.
“Hopefully we can finish up on a good positive note again,” Osborne said.
Prior to play, a ceremony will be held in honor of the late Jaime Presciano.