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34 teams brave heat, humidity

Mitchell's Jordan Miller, cousin to NBA player Mike Miller, attempts to get around defender Kelly Hubbard, of Sioux Falls, as Miller drives to the basket Saturday during the Rookie's Three-on-Three Basketball Tournament in Mitchell. Hubbard's team, Three the Hard Way, won the tournament. (Ross Dolan/Republic)

It wasn't basketball in Hades, but it was close.

With temperatures flirting with 90 degrees and humidity to match, players in Rookie's fifth annual Three-on-Three Basketball Tournament had conditions to test their mettle Saturday in Mitchell. The event was held outdoors on Highland Way, outside Blarney's Sports Bar & Grill, the event's sponsor.

The weather favored the young and fit.

Alvin Gunther, 30, of Sioux Falls, a lean 6-footer, was one of the few who appeared to relish the humidity. Dreadlocks flying, Gunther barely broke a sweat.

"I grew up in Florida. It's like this all the time down there," he said.

Others weren't so enthusiastic.

"I've got nothing in the tank," said sweatdrenched Mike Walton, who slumped courtside during a lull in Team Blarney's second game. The Blarney's team included Walton, Josh Thorpe, Tim Bottum and Scott Morgan, manager of Blarney's Sports Bar & Grill.

"When it's 40-year-olds playing against 20-year-olds, there's a big difference in legs," Morgan said.

Overcast conditions saved the day, said Morgan who noted that full sunshine had been originally predicted. The tournament drew 34 area teams who each kicked in $50 to compete. The winning team, Three The Hard Way, from Sioux Falls, received a $100 Blarney's gift certificate and bragging rights.

Team members were Cameron Young, Mitch Gray, Kelly Hubbard and Derrick DeZeeuw. They outlasted -- 21-19 -- a team composed of DWU ballplayers Jalen Voss, Kris Menning and Jade Miller, and Mitch Weg, who plays for Southwest Minnesota State University, in Marshall.

Some of the money raised will benefit the Mitchell High School girls' basketball program and Mitchell Parks and Recreation Department youth sports.

A final donation amount was not immediately available.