Blue Chips now only undefeated team left in 3-on-3 basketball


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Mike Kolze was wide open. Catching the basketball in the corner, he nearly psyched himself before taking a shot.

But after a seemingly lengthy period of time standing unguarded, he swished it through the net from 13 feet out.

“I’d been missing open shots all game,” he said. “So I just concentrated, and thankfully it went in because I was tired.”

That stroke gave Blue Chips the 15-12 win in the second game against a tough Omelettes team during the intramural pre-holiday 3-on-3 basketball tournament Monday night in the Field House. The first game was also hard fought, and the Blue Chips edged the Omelettes, 15-13.

Blue Chips, a group of seniors who met while playing basketball at Augustana College, now moves on to the title game on Wednesday. The squad will face whichever team wins in the losers’ bracket championship game tonight.

If Blue Chips wants to continue its undefeated campaign, it will need strong scoring efforts from all three of its players.

In Monday’s game, Mike Thomas scored the majority of the points for the Blue Chips in the first game with seven to go along with six rebounds.

Kolze was the big player for Blue Chips in the second game, scoring six points, including the final basket. The final player in the team’s triad, Brian Larson, hit the game-ending 2 in the first contest, as well as gathering in a number of hustle rebounds in the second.

Yet, as the scores indicated, the trio received a tough fight from the previously undefeated Omelettes. The team of mostly physical-therapy students held a 13-12 lead at one point in the first game, as well as a 12-11 lead in the second.

Both squads shot well, and the Omelettes received an immediate boost from step-back distance hoister Josh Doyle in the first game — he hit three from behind the arc.

The Omelettes also missed one of its best players, Mike Vandello, who chose to shop with his mother instead of playing in the game. His teammates described the move as “his choice.”

But even without the often-dunking Vandello, it was likely the most athletic game of the tournament, and both teams appeared to be college-level talent.

All of the Omelettes players, with the exception of one, played at Bettendorf High, and their leading scorer on the night, Jeff Bitter, played for Cornell College.

The Omelettes will play again tonight, and a victory would send them into another matchup with Blue Chips.

In the double-elimination tournament format, even if Omelettes win the next game against the undefeated team, it would have to defeat Blue Chips in a third matchup again to give the Blue Chips its two losses.

However, Monday night’s losers couldn’t think of an immediate plan after the game that could stop the well-oiled Blue Chips offense. And with an unstoppable feeling brewing, the Blue Chip players were seemingly excited for their next game, letting people in on the secret to their success.

“We eat our Wheaties,” Thomas quipped. “I had two bowls this morning.”

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