Fom left: Jurell Bastidas, Sammy Nygen, Gary Chang, Stanley Zavoyskiy, Lun Chen, and Alex Gavryushenko. They are posing after a 2004 tournament in the Frank D. O'Conner Playground in Queens. Jurell's brother, Tyree Bastidas (not pictured above), started to practice small ball at this park for the first time.
Written By: Alethia Mendez
Allan Sanchez manages to win the first Big Blue Junior Pyramid in the collegiate division despite the fine play of veteran youngster, now a young man, Victor LoPierre, after defeating Kareem Wilkerson in the semi-finals. It was a battle to be won and Allan came out on top. It was great to see such a game with such energetic and adept collegiate players. Victors showing gains him the overall lead with both balls. Also, to my astonishment, two young females other than myself, showed up to the Big Blue Junior Pyramid, Michelle Leon and Rebecca Ang, Michelle being a young age of twelve. Unfortunately, there were not enough girls to play in each division, but this may be the beginning of a new age for young women. These two females, the other being 16, battled against the guys and gave a strong showing. Keep up the good work ladies! In our High School division, there was yet another great finals game between Richard Barquero and Johnathan Iglesias. Richard Barquero really showed his skills on this great day, giving Mr. Iglesias a run for his money. Stunned, the slightly more experienced Jonathan shines through winning 21-20. Who’s the best at crunch time? We’ll see at the next Junior Pyramid. To finish off, we had a group, ranging from age eleven to thirteen, to make up the 13 & under division. For some it was their first time. Tyree Bastidas, (or little Jurell as we call him) played to his potential and showed the rest that the Bastidas family doesn’t lose in Elmhurst, Queens, seeing that his older brother Jurell Bastidas from Midwood H.S. won the first small ball Pyramid game of the year. Tyree won in the finals, being our new 13 & Under Champion! Who will win the battle of the Finest? Who’ll be at the top of the pyramid (Special Thanks to our QuJHO Board Members: Victor LoPierre, Alethia Mendez, and Kareem Wilkerson for running the tournament desk.
From left: Kareem Wilkerson, Jurell Bastidas, Johnatan Iglesias, Richard Baquero, Tyree Bastidas (wearing an orange shirt and pants), Miguel Cano, Alithia Mendez, Victor LoPierre, Alex Gavryushenko, Nick Roman, Mike Schneider and ----?---. Photo courtesy of Handballcity.com
Above from left: T. Bastidas, M. Bastidas and J. Bastidas during the 2004 USHA 3-wall Jr nationals in Venice Beach. Picture courtesy of Ivan Cabrera.
Tyree Bastidas (black shirt and trunks) listens to Coach M. Watson (white shirt) for advise during the 2004 USHA National 3-wall championships. Picture courtesy of Jim Lombardi.
*Male* – Victor LoPierre – Winning three National Junior Titles (19 &
Under Four Wall, and the 19 three wall at Venice & Toledo) and Coming in second in the Collegiate Pyramid. Winner of the Mayor Cup B Singles and getting to the semis in the Utopia Open.
----Michael Schneider jr. - Winning the Mayor's Cup Juniors and Slammed at the Junior one-wall Nationals.
*Female* --- Alethia Mendez – Winning the B's at the Women's Classic and Nationals in 4 Wall.
*Most Improved* – Richard Barquero – General Play and winning the C in
Four Wall and placing very high at the High School Pyramid and Also
leading his Team St Francis Prep to the Catholic Championships.
*Comeback Player* – Ference Dominguez -- For his Dominating performance in Winning the Collegiate pyramid. Also his win with Victor LoPierre in the John Sabo Doubles.
*Best Newcomer* – Tyree Bastidas. --- For his Dominating performance in Winning every 13 and under event he entered in one wall. Also reaching
the semis in Venice Beach and finals in Toledo.
*Volunteer*- Michael F Watson – For his tireless efforts on behalf of
*Booster Award* --- Joe Cassidy, Albert Apuzzi Jr.
*Adult Players of the Year for 2004*
*Male* – J. Wright – For Winning the King of the Courts and City Wide
*Male* – Satish Jagnandan – for Winning both the Mayors Cup and One Wall Nationals, and Overall play in every event entered.
*Female* – Brenda Pares – For Winning the Queen of the Courts and The
One Wall Nationals and Consultations in Toledo.
*Female* – Sydell Smith – For Winning the Women's 35 Singles and Open
Doubles with Tracy Davis in Toledo.
Above from left: Tyree Bastidas and Jason Yip in an undated photo.
In the summer of 2004, his brother Jurell helped Tyree practice small ball in preparation for the 2004 USHA National Juniors one-wall championships. During the Spring of 2004, Tyree also met Coach M. Watson in Queens for the first time.
While there was not enough time to practice, Tyree learned as much as he could, and with limited training, he picked up fast the small-ball game and his first national title.
During the spring of 2005, he met Coach P. Williams where he played for Midwood high school for the first time, and won with his team the P.S.A.L. New York City championship titles.
During the summer of 2005, he picked up his second one-wall national title. “
On August 2005, Tyree felt that with enough practice, he could win the 15-and-under division three-wall championships in
When he started his second year at his Midwood high school, he had one thing in mind, winning his first national juniors four-wall championship in
In the mean time, Tyree’s academic record started to show low grades, and the Midwood handball coach warned him that he wouldn’t be part of the team if he would continue to show low academic performance. The next year, Tyree was not allowed in the team. He looked back upon his academic career with regret, but at the time he simply was not interested.
During the fall of 2005 and under the truancy law of NYC high schools, he was picked up several times by NY finest and held in detention. His crime “playing handball during school hours”
“Tyree’s classroom was the handball court”, said his long time friend Jason Yip, his partner in crime, who was also picked up along with Tyree.
Tyree was given an ultimatum. He would only go to the USHA 4-wall junior nationals if he remains in the school and out of trouble. Tyree complied, he had practiced so much aiming for the USHA 4-wall championships, he didn’t want to miss it. His early dream on becoming the youngest player to win all handball versions was back on track.
He didn’t have a chance at the 4-wall title, but he had practiced so much, it was hard to tell him not to attend the 4-wall junior nationals. If he didn’t attend the tourney, there was not guarantee he would ever comeback the following year.
Tyree’s first game was against a local player, Jose Estrella. Tyree won the match in two games.
His second game was against Vince Gonzales, who had bounced him off the semifinals of the USHA 3-wall nationals in Venice Beach the previous year. Tyree had a hard time overcoming Vince as the match went into a tiebreaker, but Tyree eventually prevailed.
Tyree’s quarter-finals match was against defending champion Luis Cordova. He tried so hard to beat Cordova, but fail to win the match. At this point, he found out he wasn’t ready to be a champion in 4-wall. His dreams to win all handball versions in the same year had come to an abrupt end. He did get to the finals of the doubles division, but lost in the third game, thus, completely shattering his big dreams.
"Success is much more than hard work - it's a question of heart. That is what gives me the winning edge." said Tyree, he vowed to comeback the next year.
Above :Tyree Bastidas serving the ball when he was a 14-years old player.
Above from left: T. Bastidas posing with his friend after a match.
By Matt Krueger
Tyree Bastidas has proved his mettle in the junior ranks in all forms of handball for the last four years.
Playing as the No. 1 seed in his division, Bastidas defeated Larry Aguiar 21-18, 21-7 and joined his brother Jurell as a national B singles champion.
Jurell won the 2006 national three-wall B singles title.
With a vast arsenal of shots and the ability to mix speed with soft hands, Bastidas made quick work of all three of his opponents.
Aguiar, a collegiate player from Northern California, had a tougher road to the final.
In the first game of the final, Aguiar had plenty left in his gas tank despite the two tiebreakers he survived before reaching his duel with Bastidas. Aguiar gave Bastidas all he could handle before succumbing by three points in game 1.
In the second, Bastidas showed he had solved Aguiar’ s solid game as he jumped to a big lead and held his opponents to singles digits in a 21-7 victory.
It might have been that the long matches in the semifinals and quarters had finally caught up to Aguiar. But it was clear that Bastidas’ game was head and shoulder above his competition throughout this division.
In their semifinal matches, Bastidas defeated Scottie Moler 21-12,21-13, and Aguiar outlasted Keith Bourke 20-21, 21-8, and 11-9.
As the favorite in last year’s C division before suffering disappointment when he was forced to withdraw because of a hand injury. Bastidas was clearly on track to taking a title back home to New York this time around. And he produced with a no-doubt performance.
Above: Jurell Bastidas (yellow shirt) playing against S. Lenning at the 1-wall nationals in NY.
Above: Tyree (red shirt) warming up for the 4-wall jr nationals doubles final in Arizona. Both brothers have made big names for themselves as outstanding junior players.
US handball magazine, February 2007
In relative terms, brothers stand out.
Last year was very special for the Bastidas brothers. Jurell and Tyree combined to capture more national titles than any other junior or adults brothers.
The Inner City Handball Association honored Tyree as the best junior player of the year alongside his brother. Paul Williams and Mike Watson are due acknowledgment for the ongoing support and coaching.
Jurell Bastidas is a fearsome player in the handball court and an honor student at his college in New York. He did it again!
During his last year at Midwood High School, he took New York City by surprise by claiming the 2004 Boys Singles individual Championship. Now in his last year as a USHA junior, he managed to finish 2006 with great success.
Thanks to the year-round training under coach Paul Williams that has bulk him up to 175 pounds. Bastidas is the one delivering on-court punishment, having taken down several top players with his ferocious serves and spikes.
A 2006 Eastern Regional four-wall championship, a one-wall junior national title, a finalist in the world championship, a three-wall national crown and a one-wall national title are more than enough proof of an accomplished junior player.
Bastidas has also left behind two historic marks:
Winning the first three-wall championship among two Brooklyn-new York players, who cornered their division and turned it into and All-Brooklyn final for the first time in recent memory. Paul Angel was the other finalist, and he happened to be Bastidas’ friend and Brooklyn team member.
Winning the first one-wall national championship in the A singles in a first-ever finish in the history of USHA. When all tiebreakers for a three-way tie in a division came out even. Bastidas had to square off for a rematch with Allan Sanchez. In the end, Bastidas won 21-4, 21-9 and earned entry into the open division.
Bastidas, a very talented and extremely fast player, is ready to compete against the game’s best. He played in the open for the first time against the legendary Joe Durso, and fans at the 2006 one-wall nationals watched one of his best performances ever.
Bastidas’ power and impressive serves caught everyone’s attention at the Coney Island courts. Many matches stopped as players gathered in disbelief around Court 1, where they saw the formidable Durso being punished by a younger opponent.
The time seemed right for Bastidas, who had pounded Durso with aces and pass shots until he led 18-12 in both games. But Bastidas could not close out the games after getting frustrated and losing his patience with some of Durso ’s tactics, especially appealing calls.
It was a shame to see a player as good as Bastidas lose this way, but such is the way of sports. After that match, Durso acknowledged, ”He should have won”.
Asked which handball version he likes better, one-wall or three-wall. Bastidas immediately answered: Both, three -wall because I like to drive my opponents back, and one-wall because it is a fast game where accuracy matters.”
Having tried one-wall with the small ball unsuccessfully for the first time. Bastidas looked for help and guidance from Williams when he was 17. Williams responded by helping him ever since to accomplish so much in such a small time frame.
Bastidas has gradually improved over the years, but certainly he has improved as much as or more than any junior this year.
He recently won the Phil Fuchs College Scholarship, which is given to outstanding athletes who go to college and maintain an honor-student average. His girlfriend of three years, Na Liu, has been the engine behind him. They traveled together to many tournaments.
Tyree Bastidas once again stood out among junior players in the country throughout the last year.
He is the only junior who won four nationals titles and a world championship in 2006. And again he is the only handball player with a chance to win the rare triple crown in the same year.
Bastidas is a one-man offensive machine who has demonstrated unlimited skills in one-, three-, and four-wall. He has mastered the small ball and the big blue, as he proved at the worlds in Canada.
He is among a new breed of handball players not seen in recent years. First trained by Watson and now by Williams. Bastidas has reaped the benefits of these two coaches, who are big reasons behind his success.
Williams took Bastidas under his wing in 2006, and he made sure he won almost every tournament on his way, including the worlds.
Bastidas could be the best player in his division for many years to come as long as he keeps benefiting from smart coaching.
Tyree K. Bastidas has lived up to his nickname TKB(The King of Brooklyn), but he wants to be remembered as Tyree the Greatest.
Above: T. Bastidas re-killing the ball during match against D. Nash (Ire) at the USHA 4-wall Junior Nationals.
Above: Bastidas (black shirt) waits his turn during game against Malone from Ireland.
Irish handballers open with intent
Friday, 28 December 2007 20:04
Ireland’s hope of success at the USHA Junior Nationals is coming closer to reality as all six members of the Irish squad are safe through the next stage of competition. An official team of six are competing in Tucson, Arizona, with 15 other Irish hopefuls also competing in search of silverware stateside.
Clare’s Diarmaid Nash looks certain to take the 17 and Under title after an impressive 21-6, 21-1 over Colorado’s Jacob Lesson yesterday afternoon. He will now face Ricky Ortiz from California in today’s (Friday) quarter-final match up. His doubles partner, fellow Tuamgraney clubman, Niall Malone was unfortunate to go down to number one seed, Tyree Bastidas (New York) on a scoreline of 21-11, 21-19. Nash, who lined out at corner-back for the Banner minors this year, also looks good for the doubles title with he and Malone forming a dynamic force.
In the 15 and Under Boys, Kilkenny’s Eoghan Hennessy had a comfortable win over Mike Olczyk (Illinois) 21-8, 21-1 and also added a doubles win to see his compete in two quarter-finals this afternoon. Fellow Cats handballer, Richie Hogan, also took victory in his first round game of the 19 and Under category where he defeated Oregon’s Evan Brown 21-12, 21-13 to seal a quarter-final place against Armando Ortiz (Springfield, Missouri). Hogan, a Kilkenny U-21 and senior hurler, later paired up with Suhn Lee (Illinois) to make the last eight in the 19 and Under doubles section. Tournament favorite, Luis Moreno, a native of Tucson, is also sailing through his half of the draw, realing in the crowds as he puts on exhibition handball.
Meanwhile, the Irish female contingent had little trouble in disposing of their American counterparts as they all breezed past their opponents. In the round robin 17s/19s group, Belfast’s Aisling O’Reilly defeated Mary Friscoe, from Ohio, without coming out of first gear on a 21-0, 21-1 scoreline. Her doubles partner, Roscommon’s Leona Doolin recorded a 21-0, 21-2 win over Lizzie Little (Kansas), while Cork’s Catriona Casey had an outstanding victory over Californian Christy Ortiz 21-0, 21-2 as the Irish ladies continue to dominate on the US stage.
Of the remaining Irish, Mayo’s Stephen Cooney had a good victory in the 17 and Under bracket where he defeated Derek Alcantar (California) on a 21-10, 21-7 scoreline. Fellow Ballaghaderreen handballers, Amy Corrigan, also recorded two fantastic wins over Californian Christy Ortiz and Kaethe Kaufman. With some exciting quarter- and semi-final games in store, the Irish look set to continue their winning ways at the USHA Junior Nationals.