The first ever WBCB Sunshine Foundation 3-Point and Slam Dunk contest has come and gone.
Like any multifaceted event in its first year, the fundraiser had its ups and downs, but in the end raised money for a noble cause.
Throughout the evening the Phillie Phanatic made an appearance, prizes were won, an impromptu girls vs. boys shoot out took place, Notre Dame’s Cartier Bowman leaped over three full sized human beings, and enough money was raised to send nine children to Disney World through the Mercer County Sunshine Foundation Dreamlift.
Girls 3-Point Contest
The competition portion commenced with the girls 3-point contest. The six participants were Ryan Weise, Allentown, Ally Oldfield, Hopewell, Natalie Mehl, Steinert, Jaycee Lowe, Ewing, Fiona Aromando, Robbinsville, and Gianna Boulden, Trenton Catholic Academy.
Heading into the event, Ryan Weise was the popular pick.
Weise proved why the media selected her to win, as she edged out Natahlie Mehl and Fiona Aromando to take home the W.
Third Place – Fiona Aromando
Armando came out of the gates swinging, hitting four of five shots on both corner ball racks. Armando’s hot start earned her both a birth into the second round, and the round one victory with 14 overall points.
Per the rules of the inaugural event, round one’s score didn’t carry over into round two. Whoever qualified for round two, and made the most shots in that round, was crowned the winner.
The guidelines did not play out in Aromando’s favor, as she tallied a score of only seven in the second round. Aromando racked up 21 total points, placing her in third.
Second Place – Natalie Mehl
First and foremost the event would not have been possible without Kristen Jacobs, Mehl’s coach. Jacobs kindly donated two ball racks for the inaugural event.
Rich Fisher picked Mehl to win, and I was biased towards Mercer County’s leading three point shooter since her coach gave us the necessary equipment to make the event happen.
With the support of the broadcast team and the familiarity of her school’s ball racks, Mehl nearly pulled off the victory. The junior connected on three of four sunshine balls (worth two points each) in the first round to tally 13 points.
Contrary to round one, Mehl only connected on a single sunshine ball in the final round and finished with nine points. Mehl put on a valiant shooting display, recording 22 total points and finishing in second place.
Champion – Ryan Weise
Weise will go down in history as the first ever WBCB Sunshine Foundation champion. The Long Island University commit had a modest score of 11 in the first round, and exploded for 16 point in round two.
Weise went first in the finals and instantly put pressure on Mehl and Aromando. The senior found a rhythm knocking down seven straight shots (video below) to secure the victory.
Weise explained she changed her mindset in the second round. “I actually didn’t know there was a money ball,” Weise said. “I really tried to focus on the last shot to make sure I got those two points.”
Boys 3-Point Contest
The second event was the boys 3-point contest. The seven participants were Richie Jones, Nottingham, Mike Kane, Notre Dame, Nasir McMillan, Trenton Central, Kostro Montina, Nottingham, Jamal Anderson, Hightstown, Shemar Robinson, Ewing, and Luke Vista, Hightstown.
Richie Jones, fresh off a record breaking 3-point shooting campaign for Nottingham, was the overwhelming favorite entering the contest.
Unike Weise in the girls competition, the boy’s 3-point contest ended with an upset.
Third Place – Shemar Robinson
Robinson was the only athlete who participated in multiple events throughout the evening. The senior competed in the 3-point and the dunk contest.
Robinson’s ability to participate in multiple events is a huge testament to his athleticism and skill set.
Not only was Robinson capable of competing in multiple events, he nearly won the 3-point contest. The Ewing senior connected on five of five shots from the third ball rack, tallying a first round score of 12.
Robinson didn’t fair as well in round two, only recording nine points. Despite finishing third in the 3-point contest Robinson’s night wasn’t finished.
Second Place – Richie Jones
The Nottingham senior was the first overall shooter in the competition and appeared to have a grip with the order.
Despite having to shoot first, Jones recorded 12 round one points, tying him for the overall lead with Shemar Robinson.
Before round two started, Jones ensured the shooting order changed.
Jones orchestrated a game of rock, paper, scissors (see below), between Shemar Robinson and Jamal Anderson to decide who shoot first in round two.
Robinson lost the game, forcing him to shoot first in round two.
Despite positioning himself differently in the shooting order, Jones came up short in round two. The senior recorded a final score of 11, finishing second overall.
Champion – Jamal Anderson
The CVC Coaches Player of the Year racked up another piece of hardware.
After a first round score of 11, Anderson finished strong in the final round putting up an impressive 14 points. Anderson was all smiles after winning the first ever WBCB Sunshine Foundations Boys 3-Point Contest.
“This is a good event, there a lot of fans here,” Anderson said. “I’m having a good time.”
The good times would continue on for Anderson, as his impressive shooting night was only just beginning.
Boys vs. Girls 3-Point Shoot-Off
A girls 3-point champion vs. boys champion was not in the original itinerary.
I’m not totally sure how the idea came to fruition, however it was arguably the most competitive competition of the evening.
Anderson and Weise recorded the exact same score in round one of the showdown.
The overtime shootout consisted of one-rack of five balls.
Anderson ultimately prevailed 5-4, nailing the final sunshine ball for the win.
Slam Dunk Contest
The final and most anticipated event of the evening lived up to the hype. Reggie James, Trenton Central, Shemar Robinson, Ewing, Darius Gary, Kings Christian Academy, and Cartier Bowman, Notre Dame, put on an absolute show.
In the words of Tim Toney, Tim Toney Media, “The best high school dunk contest I’ve seen in a while.”
The event was scored by five judges (below), each grading dunks on a scale of one to ten. The four dunkers each dunked twice in the first round. Of the four, the two dunkers with the highest combined score in round one advanced.
Fourth Place – Shemar Robinson
Again, can’t stress enough the credit Robinson deserves for participating in multiple events.
Robinson’s first dunk was a self assisted slam that earned him a score of 32.
In his second attempt, Robinson perfectly executed a reverse slam.
Robinson’s score increased, as he was awarded a 36. The combined total of 68 would subsequently end Robinson’s productive evening.
Third Place – Reggie James
James was the recipient of the WBCB Sports Network Dunk of the Year Award. Looking to add another award to his 2017-2018 dunking campaign, James fell just short.
In his first dunk, James got an assist from Trenton Catholic Academy’s wall.
The off-the-wall slam earned James the second highest scored dunk of the evening with a 45.
In prime position to advance, James perhaps wanted to holster his flashier dunks for round two. The junior pulled out the “mailmen,” and was only awarded a 34.
James missed advancing to the second round by seven points.
It felt like James was saving his big-time dunks for round two. What could have been will have to be featured in next year’s contest.
Second Place – Darius Gary
Gary was a day of addition to the slam dunk contest. Both Khalif Battle (illness) and Cliff Joseph (injury) were unable to attend and the 6-foot-7 senior filled in with style.
Gary connected on a big-time windmill in his first dunk, earning a score of 37.
Gary’s second dunk(s) of the first round is where matters got dicey. Internally, WBCB never clarified how many attempts at a specific dunk each participant was allowed.
The lack of clarification was on full display during Gary’s second dunk(s) of round one. The senior eventually nailed a reverse slam (see below), but it took him nearly four attempts.
Skewed rules and all, Gary was awarded a 44 and a combined score of 81, giving him birth in the final round.
A showdown against Notre Dame’s Cartier Bowman was set.
In the finals, the rules were firmed up. Gary was unable to connect on four straight flashy dunk attempts, thus setting the stage for a Cartier Bowman victory.
First Place – Cartier Bowman
Bowman had high expectations entering the event, and he soared past them.
The Notre Dame senior was arguably the only dunker whose dunk’s got progressively more impressive.
In his first attempt, Bowman’s head cleared the rim, and the senior was given a 41.
Bowman pulled out a textbook windmill in his second dunk of round two.
The senior received a 45 for the slam (including a ten), giving him a combined score of 86.
In the final round, Bowman observed as Gary was unable to connect on a single dunk attempt. Knowing a victory was in reach, Bowman brought out three friends to secure the first ever WBCB Sunshine Foundation Slam Dunk title.
The dunk received a perfect 50. Bowman’s slam brought the gym to its feet, and the competition to an end.
Through the help of the student athletes,Trenton Catholic Academy, local businesses, and all those who attended the event, $3,200 was raised for the Mercer County Chapter of the Sunshine Foundation.
$3,200 is the equivalent of sponsoring nine plane tickets for disabled children to Disney World.
This is only the beginning of this event. We look forward to doubling the amount raised for years to come (also we still have left over t-shirts, if you’ve made it this far in the article please email me Sam@wbcb1490.com and I will hook it up).