Bexhill club hosts global tournament

The Ballers Heaven Select team which won the B final.

The Ballers Heaven Select team which won the B final.

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The World Club Basketball Tournament, hosted by Bexhill Giants, returned to Hastings for the second time.

The event has become one of the biggest international tournaments hosted in the UK, with teams representing Canada, USA and England taking part.

The objective of tournament was to provide players of all abilities with the opportunity to compete against other international teams, showcase their talent in front of coaches in attendance, and experience the fantastic architecture, culture and history of Hastings.

The tournament included some of the best playing talent seen at a UK tournament with British Basketball Cup winners, NBA representatives and Euro League stars taking part, as well as referees from Holland and Spain.

The 10 competing teams were initially split into two groups of five. The top two teams from each group progressed to the A semi-finals, while the third and fourth placed sides went into the B semi-finals. The fifth placed teams competed in the Kidney Research UK Plate match.

After an excellent first day of competitive basketball, USA Select’s White and Red teams dominated proceedings, both winning their groups with 100% records.

They were joined in the A semi-finals by USAF Lakenheath Eagles and Canada’s ABA Toronto Knights, both of whom suffered defeats to the USA Select teams.

The second day of the tournament began with a well-attended youth coaching session hosted by USA Select coaches and players, followed by the semi-finals.

The USA Select Red team beat USAF Lakenheath 46-40 in the first of the two A semi-finals, while USA Select White outgunned an injury-hit ABA Toronto Knights 60-39 in the other last four tie.

In the B semi-finals, Sussex Elite were up against the experienced Beyond Ballers Heaven Select, who came out on top 35-20.

The American dominance continued in the other semi-final as the brave West London Basketball Club was defeated by the U-Hoops World team 31-19.

An excellent weekend of basketball was concluded with the finals, in which the Argyle Kings defeated the Coventry Tornadoes 38-34 after overtime during an exciting match between the teams finishing fifth in either group.

The B final was a tense affair until the closing minutes when the sharpshooting of the Ballers Heaven Select team saw them overcome their counterparts U-Hoops World 48-36.

With both the USA Select teams needing to conserve their energy for the rest of their European tour, the A final between their Red and White teams became a bit of an exhibition match as the teams put on a display for the crowd with excellent dunks and entertainment. USA Select Red retained their title after running out 44-35 winners.

All the money raised from the tournament will be donated to Kidney Research UK, whose south east fundraiser Beccy Boyle opened the event.

Eric Douglin, the tournament organiser, said: “I am really pleased how the weekend progressed, which started with the exhibition match between USA Select and the ABA Toronto Knights in front of a full house at Bexhill Leisure Centre.

“To have teams of this calibre compete in a Sussex-based tournament is a fantastic achievement which I don’t think has been fully appreciated within the community.

“The tournament is now recognised as the number one international basketball event in the UK and is growing. We have already received entries for 2017, which will be bigger and better.”

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