Above: Coach M. Watson and T. Bastidas at the 3-wall juniors nationals in 2010. M. Watson had been present when Bastidas played at the Venice Beach handball courts for the first time in 2004. It was appropriate for M. Watson to be present in Bastidas' last 3-wall juniors nationals.
For a few glorious years, Bastidas was the greatest junior handball player on the planet. The New Yorker bowed out of junior competition exactly a year ago by winning his last junior tournament at the 3-wall Venice Beach handball courts.
Since Tyree Bastidas made his first appearance at the USHA juniors 3-wall championships in 2004, many New Yorkers (including girls) have traveled to California to be part of this great event. This year is not different, as fellow players; Cheryl Chen, Mathew Chu and Michael Zhou traveled West to follow Tyree’s footsteps with the hope of bringing a national title back home to New York. On July 24, 2011, Bastidas' reigning period will end as a new 3-wall champion will be crowned.
At his peak, Bastidas was a force of nature – dubbed by fans simply as the greatest junior handball player ever. He had lightning-quick feet and an incredible ability to anticipate his despairing opponents.
As a teenager Bastidas also played the most USHA- sanctioned championships in the juniors and open Men’s divisions (combined), more than any other teenager in the history of the game.
His period of dominance took place when 1-, 3- & 4-wall junior competition recorded new record participation across the country.
He is the only junior player in the world to have reached and/or won the USHA national championship matches in the juniors and open divisions in all three handball versions. Nothing can overshadow his legacy as handball’s most versatile junior player.
Above: Current national 1-wall champion Sandy Ng.
Above from (L to r): Former national 1-wall champions Theresa McCourt and Tracy Davis.
Above: Former national 3-wall champion Sarah Au.
Above: Current 1-wall national champion Danielle Daskalakis.
D. Daskalakis won her third consecutive title and is rapidly approaching Tracy Davis’ all-time record of four consecutive titles. It’s going to be a monumental task for Daskalakis to match Davis’ record as Sarah Au has come back to the handball circle, and Sandy Ng, the current national champion, has been knocking on the door twice in the last three years.
During the last thirteen years, the Mayor’s Cup has yielded four different champions, with Tracy Davis winning the most titles. Congratulations to the ladies.
Mayor’s Cup champions:
2000 Tracy Davis
2001 Tracy Davis
2002 Tracy Davis
2003 Tracy Davis
2004 Brenda Pares
2005 Anna Calderon
2006 Tracy Davis
2007 Tracy Davis
2008 Tracy Davis
2009 Danielle Daskalakis
2010 Danielle Daskalakis
2011 Danielle Daskalakis
This is Tyree's hand after the Mayor's Cup. He is still recuperating from an open wound he had right before winning the tournament.
Tyree Bastidas is determined to win the 1-wall nationals two years in a row, even though he doesn’t have the necessary handball training. It is a stunning turn of events after four straight years in which Bastidas has established records and milestones in the junior and open divisions.
Most handball players try to avoid hazards. T. Bastidas seems drawn to them. It’s as if the game would’ve been boring for him otherwise. But no matter where his shots landed, he always seemed to find a way out to win a match. The Brooklyn 1-wall handball sensation emerged onto the scene at the 4-wall national level in 2008 and reached the finals of the Canadian Men’s Open doubles championships. He was only 17. Two years later, he became the youngest player to win the USHA national 1-wall crown and went on to establish himself as the leading player at the open level.
Back then he was the main character of a movie/Documentary “Handballers”, still waiting to be released. Nowadays, he finds himself as one of the main characters of another handball documentary, which covers only the one-wall version “The Perfect Game”.
Never before, in the history of the game, a handball player has attracted so much attention to film Directors/Producers as Tyree Bastidas has.
This documentary has been covering the game for the past couple of years and promises to be one of the most complete works ever done on 1-wall.
Tyree Bastidas, America’s first true handball star, led the continent as the first 1-wall national champion to its first Irish national 4-wall victory in Europe in 2008.
But it was Bastidas’ versatility that won him fans across the nation as he traveled the country to compete in all forms of handball.
Please visit the documentary’s web-site for news, tournament to be covered, players and updates.
Above from (l to r): Brooklyn Kings County's new handball kings; Pewee Castro(big ball), and Tyree Bastidas (small ball).
Above from (l to r): Quarterfinals; Court No 1, Timbo (front) playing Rookie (white shirt), while in Court No 2, J. Garcia (front) serves to Pewee Castro (red shirt).
Above: T. Bastidas and Rookie talk about strategy after Rookie's loss.
Above: Timbo in the back returns a serve as Pewee waits for his turn.
Above: Pewee Castro goes up in the air in a desperate attempt to close out the game.
Pewee Castro powers his way to his first crown as king of the courts.
Dwight Worley has been the head of St. Albans Handball Association (SAHA) since 1988, and he is known to have been running local tournaments way before the King of Courts was developed. He still remains the main promoter of the event.
This event started as a ladies’ event “Queen of the Courts”, but was renamed “King of the Courts” due to popular demand.
J. Wright was the first player to have been crowned in 1998 and is the only player to have won it five times. Strange enough, only players with a name that starts with a G or J have managed to win the most tournaments with the exception of (R. Lopez and Y. Castro).
Pewee Castro, who had reached the championship matches in previous years, became the new King of the Courts by defeating Shaheem 25-23 in the finals.
In the quarterfinals Pewee Castro had to dispose of J. Garcia in a very close game, 25-18, while Timbo had disposed of Rookie in a surprise victory.
Later on during the semis, Castro disposed of Timbo in another competitive game where Castro actually survived the game and the 100 degree temperatures.
In the finals, it was all about Pewee Castro in the last five minutes of the game as the temperatures took a toll on the players and spectators.
King of the Courts champions:
1996 Queen of the Courts
1997 Queen of the Courts
1998 J. Wright
1999 R. Lopez
2000 J. Wright
2001 G. Figueroa
2002 J. Wright
2003 G. Figueroa
2004 J. Wright
2005 G. Figueroa
2006 No event held
2007 No event held
2008 J. Richie
2009 G. Vasquez
2010 J. Wright
2011 Y. Castro
Above: The three-wall courts at Venice Beach, California.
Above: T. Bastidas plays at Venice Beach during the juniors nationals.
Above: T. Bastidas (front) poses with players at the 3-wall jr nationals in 2009. Most of the players in this picture played at the 2011 USHA 3-wall nationals, where they captured all titles.
Above: From (l to r): R. Ortiz talks to Tyree Bastidas during the juniors 3-wall nationals at Venice Beach.
The USHA juniors 3-wall championships came to an end on July 24, 2011 and so was King Tyree’s reining period.
The old 3-wall handball courts measured 20x34 and had short side walls until they were torn down in 1988. Some of the players that have graced these courts were Jim Jacobs, Howie Eisenberg, Ken Davidoff, Stuffy Singer, Steve August, and Naty Alvarado.
Four brand new courts were constructed at Venice Beach in 1988 with standard sized 3-wall courts and a 25-foot apron and concrete stands (see picture above).
After 1988, gracing the courts have been, Octavio Silveyra, Richard Valenzuela, Vince Munoz, David Chapman, Dough Glatt, Rod Prince, Naty Alvarado Jr, and New York junior national sensation Tyree Bastidas.
This past weekend players from Northern California captured all singles and doubles titles, while B. Bidegain from Southern California took the 19-and-under singles title, making this event a complete sweep by California players. It is the first time in the history of the 3-wall juniors nationals that California dominates and captures all divisions.
This year also marks the first time a title is not coming back to New York. Tyree Bastidas had brought back a title to NY for almost six years.
Congratulations to all champions for making this tournament a historic event.