October 5, 2022
Ithaca, NY | 49°F


Turning the tables

It was a familiar scene in Ben Light Gymnasium on Sunday morning. With the clock ticking down and fans cheering, two basketball teams rebounded and boxed each other out, battling to take home the trophy that sat on the sidelines.

From left, Daryl Rota, a member of the Mahogany Grill team, tries to dribble past Heather Lane, a member of the Purity Ice Cream team, at the women’s basketball team’s 3-on-3 fundraiser Sunday in Ben Light Gymnasium. MICHELLE BOULÉ/THE ITHACAN

But the players weren’t Ithaca College students. Three players from the Boatyard Grill defeated three others from Rogan’s Corner to advance to the championship game. The teams were two of six local businesses that participated in the women’s basketball team’s first 3-on-3 tournament to help the Bombers raise money. The team made about $700 — money that will go toward expenses such as the team’s winter training trip to Hawaii in December.

The women’s basketball team’s Assistant Coach Alex Ivansheck had the idea for the tournament. As a waitress for the restaurant Mahogany Grill during the summers, she already had ties to the community.

“I wanted to do a 3-on-3 tournament that gets us out in the community and involves local businesses,” Ivansheck said.

When she told Head Coach Dan Raymond and the athletes, they were all on board.

“We’re always looking for creative ways to raise money,” Raymond said.

The players got involved by going out to the businesses and asking them to participate. Senior forward Jane DeBiasse said for many businesses, especially bars, Halloween weekend was not ideal. However, even with the early hours on a busy weekend, teams from Purity Ice Cream, Rogan’s Corner, the Boatyard Grill and Mahogany Grill paid the $150 entrance fee to show their support.

But despite the turnout, Ivansheck said she wasn’t disappointed.

“Obviously more teams would have been better,” she said. “But the first year is always tough, and next year we’ll pick a different date.”

For the businesses that did enter the tournament, it was good promotion, Derrick Barrett, a cook from Rogan’s Corner, said.

“I met a lot of the players today,” Barrett said. “It’s definitely a way to get our name out to the college students.”

Raymond agreed the tournament was a successful way to collaborate in the area.

“In Ithaca, it’s about Cornell,” Raymond said. “Our numbers at games aren’t what we’d like to see, so hopefully this helps.”

Ivansheck’s job didn’t end at the planning of the tournament. As one of the players for Mahogany Grill, her team fought throughout the day to avoid elimination. Teams were eliminated from the tournament after losing two games.

The winning team took home a trophy, which they will keep until next year’s tournament.

“It’s our version of the Stanley Cup,” Raymond said.

As the Bomber athletes watched the local teams dribble between their legs and drain shots, they admitted the games were competitive and entertaining to watch.

“This is definitely more competitive than I thought it’d be,” DeBiasse said.

For the right to take home the trophy, Ivansheck’s team had to win against the undefeated Boatyard team twice. The first 25-minute game ended at 20–17, with Mahogany Grill as the winners. Mahogany Grill won the second game, taking home the trophy at 20–11.

Dylan Reilly, a server for the Boatyard Grill and close friend of Ivansheck, said it was “a little humbling” losing to Mahogany Grill twice in the championship, but if the team had to lose, he was content with losing to Ivansheck’s team.

Reilly said he had been watching Ivansheck plan the tournament for a few months and knew how hard she worked.

“We were happy for her,” he said. “It was Alex’s tournament, and we were kind of the bad guys to come in and win the first few games.”

But the teams that lost were already beginning to talk about next year’s tournament.

“We’re definitely coming back,” Barrett said. “We gotta win the cup.”