Queens, NY, WPH Press, 7/24/16- Edison High School’s 1-Wall courts hosted New York City’s most prestigious 1-Wall Big Ball singles tournament of the year in Jamaica, Queens, as best 1-Wall Big Ball players in the world battled for the King of the Court title in sweltering New York City summer heat.
Timbo Gonzalez entered the event as the number one seed and defending champion, as well as the WPH Outdoor #2 pro. Gonzalez cruised to the final in the deep draw by avenging his loss to Kadeem Bush at last month’s USHA 1-Wall Big Ball Nationals by thrashing Bush in the upper bracket semifinal. “Kadeem was unlucky is having the least amount of rest between the two entering the semifinal matchup but I’m not sure it would have mattered with the way Timbo was playing,” declared WPH reporter Arthur Sayed.
Rookie Wright entered the 2016 King of the Courts having playing very little tournament singles in the past three years but found himself in the semifinals of the bottom bracket against Cinderella Story Miguel Mendez. Mendez shocked Tywan Cook in the round of 16 and continued his stellar play in the quarterfinals in defeating Andres “Playstation” Calle. Wright put an emphatic end to Mendez’s Cinderella Story, dismissing the rising star to meet Gonzalez in the final.
Gonzalez started quickly in the final, playing aggressively and building a seemingly commanding 8-2 lead in the one-game to 25 final. “Rookie only had 25 minutes of rest between the semifinal and final and he seemed to start very slowly,” stated Sayed. Wright reeled off nine consecutive points to erase Gonzalez’s lead and take a three-point lead at 11-8. “Rookie just starting serving and hitting a lot harder after falling behind early,” stating Sayed. “You could hear that the sound of the ball off the wall was just different.”
The 43-year old Wright maintained his lead throughout the remainder of the match, never allowing Gonzalez closer than three points in the second half of the final. “It wasn’t that Timbo was playing badly,” stated Sayed. “Timbo was making amazing shots and gets but he also made some errors. Timbo hit a few shots that were barely out or barely hitting the floor before the wall, but a lot of that had to do with Rookie applying a lot of pressure. Rookie was spiking the ball very well and really had Timbo on the move.”
Wright closed out the match at 24-19 with a pass down the left that just clipped the left sideline to clinch the title of 1-Wall King for the next year.
“The kid (Gonzalez) is tough,” stated Wright after collecting the title. “You just have to move him and work him. He is a great athlete and aggressive. You have to outplay him or you lose.”
Thank you to WPH reporter Arthur Sayed for the coverage from the 2016 King of the Courts!
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WPH Senior Writer
photos courtesy of handball hall of fame member, Albert Apuzzi