Greenwalt returns for 3-on-3 hoopla

Zach Terry of Terry’s Rams drives to the basket against Jesus Medina of the King Ballas during a match-up at the Three-on-Three Hoopla Street Ball Tournament at the North Plains Mall. The King Ballas won 16-14. (Staff photo: Andrew Chavez)

By Eric Butler: CNJ correspondent

Casual observers, as well as players who were in-between contests, had a variety of choices of games to watch Saturday at the Three-on-Three Hoopla Streetball Tour in Clovis.

From grown men to little boys, it seemed everyone had a chance to shoot baskets in the parking lot at North Plains Mall.

But at high noon, one game attracted the most attention — and it was a women’s game. That was largely thanks to the presence of former Clovis High standout and recent Texas Tech graduate Cisti Greenwalt.

Though Greenwalt has played in many gyms and arenas, Saturday’s experience was brand new for the 6-foot-5 post player.

“It really wasn’t worth it, because you could end up getting hurt,” said Greenwalt, who was in the Sacramento Monarchs training camp in May. “They asked me to play this weekend and I’m not on scholarship (anymore), so there was nothing really holding me back.

“It’s fun to come out and play — nothing real hard because I don’t want to get hurt or anything, because it’s not worth it,” said Greenwalt who averaged 12.9 points and 8.6 rebounds as a senior at Tech and finished as the Big 12 Conference career leader in blocks with 300.

Greenwalt also recently had a four-day tryout with Los Angeles.

Given her druthers, Greenwalt said she would still eventually like to end up with Sacramento for her next basketball-playing gig. But she said that playing in a European women’s league is likely her next alternative.

“I’m just keeping my options open right now. I’ll probably go overseas in probably September or October to play,” Greenwalt said.

As for Saturday’s action — with no pep bands, no scoreboards, no coaches — Greenwalt admitted it was quite a bit different.

“It’s a little (hot). That’s what they were saying, asking me if I was out of shape,” Greenwalt said. “I said, ‘I don’t play in 90-degree weather. I play in air conditioned gyms.’”

Greenwalt led Clovis to state championships in 1999 and 2000. But she wasn’t the only player on the court with a resume of state crowns. One of her teammates was former Texico standout Elizabeth Richards, who led the Lady Wolverines to three straight championships.

The opposition for the noon game included Roni Gomez and Kassandra Richards, stalwart guards for three recent state title teams in Portales.

Against Greenwalt, however, they were at a tremendous height disadvantage.

After one tumble to the pavement, Kassandra Richards came up with gashes on both hands and a leg — more hurt in one fall than she had through most of her prep career.

“I’ve just got to get tougher, I guess,” joked Richards, who spent some time trying to keep the much taller Greenwalt out of the area near the basket. “I just kept hitting her and hitting her as hard as you can — until she knocks you over.”

“The last time I played against her, I was a freshman in high school,” said Gomez, who transferred to South Plains Junior College in Levelland, Texas, for her sophomore year. “She’s stronger now.”

The Clovis stop for the Three-on-Three Hoopla streetball tour finishes today. Each team was guaranteed four games in the round-robin tournament, which is in its fourth year in Clovis.

The tourney was staged at Hillcrest Park the last three years.

“That was a great venue there, but the city wanted to find an additional location because of the parking-issues with the apartments being built (on Sycamore, across from the park). But this is a nice venue too,” said Virgil Craft, president of the Three-on-Three Hoopla streetball tour, which is held in 30 cities. “We may not have the shade here, but they go into the mall to cool off in between games.”