The two-time defending Men’s Open division champion was dethroned at the “Takin’ It to the Streets” 3-on-3 basketball tournament Sunday on Main Street in Hermiston.

A southeast Washington team, “Hand Down Man Down,” knocked off the reigning champs hailing from the Spokane area “Team Coca Cola” to take the tournament’s top men’s division.

The championship-winning side beat Coca Cola twice to claim the title, 19-17 and 20-15, after losing to them Sunday morning. According to Man Down member Dean Colbray, it was the team’s first-ever loss.

“That wasn’t a good feeling,” he said. “We didn’t want to let it happen again.”

Hand Down Man Down has won tournaments in Richland, Walla Walla, Kennewick and Vancouver already this summer. They received a little help from Mother Nature in the title games, however.

Team Coca Cola’s calling card is the deep jump shot, which is worth two points in 3-on-3 hoops rather than three, and just as the first game began the wind picked up and started a cross-wind that hampered the long distance shots.

Hand Down Man Down took full advantage of that, plus the team’s height and length, and was led by Mac-Hi boys’ basketball coach Curtis Carlson wreaking havoc in the post.

The 6-foot-6, lanky forward used his post skills and physical ability to back down just about any defender Coca Cola put on him and get to the rim.

Carlson, a former Point Loma and Mac-Hi star that had a stint in the Eurobasket Summer League in Las Vegas, essentially took the first game over with his team down 10-8.

Carlson scored eight of the remaining 11 buckets for his team and was able to help keep possession of the ball long enough for the 25-minute clock to run down and ice the game.

Coca Cola made it interesting near the end with an Adam Allen deep 2-pointer to cut the lead to 18-17, but there was only 15 seconds left in the game and Hand Down Man Down hit a free throw to seal it.

In Game 2, Hand Down Man Down pounded the ball in the interior and again proved that no one in the tournament could handle their inside game.

Team Coca Cola could never find their shooting touch in Game 2, partly because of the nasty cross-wind, but mostly because of the sweltering defense Hand Down Man Down was playing.

“We play a lot together, so we know what it takes to win something like this,” Colbray said. “We just tried to deny them the two, and when we got the ball we felt like anybody on our team could score.”

With former NWAACC East Region MVP Kris Groce (Columbia Basin College) running the point, Shawn Brooks as another long, athletic body in the middle and Colbray at another guard, Hand Down Man Down had four legitimate college players on the roster.

Groce finished his career at Eastern Oregon University while Colbray split his time between Point Loma and Montana Tech. Brooks also played for Montana Tech.

In the Women’s Open division, the team of former Hermiston High players Saraya Wise, Kirsten Shockman, Haley Foley and Umatilla’s 6-foot-1 Naomi Castanon, finished second to the Monstars, a team of Lapwai and Lewiston, Idaho, players.

In total, 210 teams packed Main Street and Newport Courts in Hermiston.

For complete brackets of the tournament, visit www.hermiston3on3.org.

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