SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Former Iowa Central basketball standouts Klaye Rowe and Dylan Travis were part of the winning team at the Red Bull USA Basketball 3X Nationals.
Playing alongside Trey Bardsley and Steffon Bradford, the group claimed top honors at the event. Bardsley was named the MVP for the tournament.
3BALL Omaha downed Harlem, 21-20, in the finals. Travis tied the game at 20-all before Bardsley dropped in the game-winner.
"Incredibly physical game," Rowe said. "I was undersized as usual. Effort and fundamentals rule the game. I have always refused to let anyone outwork me on the court. I felt like I came through for the team in that aspect. Credit to Coach (Dennis) Pilcher and Coach (Chad) Helle. Fifteen years later and I can still hear them getting on me when I break down fundamentally."
In the prelim round, 3BALL Omaha topped 3BALL Olympic Club (21-16) and Princeton (21-10). They scored a 21-8 victory over Carol Lives in the quarterfinal play-in, downed Princeton again in the quarterfinals, 22-17, and advanced to the finals with a 21-18 victory over 3BALL Olympic Club.
The Harlem team is ranked No. 1 and the Princeton squad No. 2, with both competing on the world tour. Rowe said the plan is for the 3BALL Omaha team to enter into challenger events in the coming months.
"We were the oldest team there and had the shortest player. That player won nationals MVP (Bardsley). He is an incredible shooter and player. Best shooter I have ever seen," Rowe said. "Dylan just stuffs the stat sheet game in and game out. Incredible shooter himself but his slashing, rebounding and play-making is remarkable. Stef is 260 pounds of muscle so our strategy was get the ball out as quickly as we can followed by as many screens as possible between us bigs.
"By the halfway point of the game they are sick of fighting thru grown man screen after grown man screen and our guards just need a little daylight. It worked well for us."
Rowe, a member of the Iowa Central Athletic Hall of Fame, was a first team All-American for the Tritons before continuing his career at Bellevue University, where he was a second team NAIA All-American in 2008.
Travis has earned invites to USA Basketball's 3X3 mini-camps in Chicago and Orlando. He played for Iowa Central during the 2013-14 season, averaging over 18 points per game to earn first team all-region honors. He transferred to Florida Southern and helped them win the 2015 NCAA Div. II national title.
While the tournament was not played in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 marked the ninth edition of the 3x3 national championships, the second edition of Red Bull USA Basketball 3X Nationals and the second time the event has been held outside of Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The next season kicks off on July 10.
-By Dana Becker