Las Vegas triumph as Hastings hosts world tournament

World Club Basketball Tournament founder Eric Douglin
World Club Basketball Tournament founder Eric Douglin

The World Club Basketball Tournament took place over two days at Summerfields Leisure Centre in Hastings.

Eight teams - from the UK, continental Europe and the United States - produced some excellent basketball action in an annual event hosted by Bexhill Giants Basketball Club.

The teams were initially split into two groups of four, with USAF Lakenheath, Wales National Team, Sussex Lions and New York Court Kings in group one, and London Patriots, Las Vegas Unknown, Chicago Legends and Argyle Kings in group two.

The top two in each group advanced to the A semi-finals and the bottom two went into the B semi-finals, all of which were played on day two.

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In the A semi-finals, New York Court Kings overcame a depleted Argyle Kings 52-27 and Las Vegas Unknown saw off Sussex Lions 41-25.

Las Vegas Unknown went on to be crowned World Club Basketball Tournament champions 2018 after edging out the tiring Kings 56-51 in the final.

As for the B semi-finals, USAF Lakenheath pipped Chicago Legends 28-27 and the the Wales National Team scraped past London Patriots 22-19.

The final was also a close contest, but in the end USAF Lakenheath just overcame Wales National Team 34-32.

This was the fourth time the event had been held in the town and it was opened the Lions Club of Hastings president, Brett McLean, who welcomed the teams to the town and wished them well during the tournament.

The opening ceremony was streamed worldwide and day two of the tournament began with a free youth coaching clinic run by coaches from 2017 champions ABA Toronto Knights. Each participant received some great gifts from the Knights.

The growth of the tournament has seen teams from as far afield as Tanzania, Australia, India and New Zealand enquire about competing, and the event has attracted media attention globally.

Event organiser and Bexhill Giants chairman Eric Douglin said: “I was overwhelmed at how well the tournament went and the standard of play the teams brought to the event.

“All of the teams were of the highest standard and I was privileged to have them take part in the event in the town.

“The tournament is going from strength to strength and is being recognised around the world as one of the premier events to compete in.

“I would like to thank our sponsors Lions Club of Hastings, Maw Sports, Ballers Heaven and Kidney Research UK.”

The objective of the tournament was to raise the profile of UK basketball by introducing high calibre teams into a competitive environment and to promote the sport to new fans, as well as raising funds and awareness for charity partner Kidney Research UK.