World Club Basketball Tournament
The Summerfields Leisure Centre played host to some excellent basketball action over the weekend of the 12th /13th September, when the Bexhill Giants Basketball Club organised World Club Basketball Tournament welcomed eight teams to the seaside town of Hastings.
The host Club Bexhill Giants have been instrumental in organising a number of international tournaments for visiting overseas teams over the last 3 years, which has seen American teams USA Select Basketball, Lake Michigan Admirals and Canadian side Toronto Knights visit the seaside town.
The aim of the tournament was to raise the profile of UK basketball by introducing high calibre teams into a competitive tournament free of charge to spectators, to promote the sport to new fans. In addition to raise funds and awareness for the charity partner Kidney Research UK.
The eight competing teams USAF Lakenheath Eagles (USA), Great Britain Police, KAMPI Team GB (Phillipines), Urban Elite Team (England), Lake Michigan Admirals (USA), USA Select 1 & USA Select 2 joined hosted team Bexhill Giants. The teams were split into two groups of four with the top two teams in each group progressing to the ‘A’ Semi Finals and positions three and four progressing to the ‘B’ Semi Finals.
Day 1 - Group Matches
The tournament was opened by the Mayor of Hastings, Councillor Bruce Dowling then it was straight into the action with the first round match in Group 1 which saw the impressive Premier Basketball League side USA’s Lake Michigan Admirals defeat a spirited Great Britain Police team 66-30. Group 2 saw a well drilled Team GB Phillipines defeat host team Bexhill Giants 50-35.
Next up the USA Select Teams who had entered two teams in the competition as part of their European Exposure tour, saw USA Select Team 2 win a closely fought contest 46-43 against experience English side Urban Elite Team in Group1, while quality top level side and pre-tournament favourites USAF Lakenheath defeated USA Select 2 54-45 in an exciting clash that went down to the wire.
Great Britain Police & Bexhill Giants both suffered consecutive defeats at the hands of Urban Elite Team & USAF Lakenheath respectively in Round 3, while both USA teams came away with victories. USA Select 2, gaining a 61-60 victory over Lake Michigan Admirals with last second buzzer beater.
USA Select 2 & Lake Michigan Admirals both finished Group 1 with victories over Great Britain Police & Urban Elite Team, to leave the Select team top of the Group with a 100% record and Lake Michigan Admirals in second. Urban Elite Team third and GB Police bringing up the rear in fourth place.
Group 2 saw USAF Lakenheath show their class to top Group 1 with a 47 -35 win over the third placed GB Phillipines team and USA Select 1 defeating Bexhill Giants 64-44 to finish second in the group with the host bottom with no wins in their three matches.
Day 2 of the tournament saw a free youth coaching clinic day start the day off with USA Select coaches running the session and putting the grateful youngsters through their paces. Each participant then received a certificate for taking part in the session.
B Semi Finals
Then it was onto the action with the B Semi Finals taking place on the show court. First up was Great Britain Police versus Team GB Phillipines. The match was played at a frenetic pace as the sides traded baskets in a keenly contested but the GB Police progressed to the final with a 31-30 victory.
The second Semi Final saw the host team Bexhill Giants who were defeated in all three of their group matches face the Urban Elite Team which included BBL and EBL players. Yet again the exciting match had the crowd on their feet, until the final seconds when guest player Canadian High school star Mark Douglin scored a buzzer beater with the scores tied at 36-36 to see the Giants progress to the final with a 38-36 win.
‘A’ Semi Finals
With the first A Semi Final between Team USA Select 1 & Team USA Select 2 declared a walkover in the favour of Team USA Select 2, it was left to the remaining USA teams in the competition Lake Michigan Admirals & USAF Lakenheath Eagles to see who would progress to the final.
It was Lakenheath who started the stronger using their fast break to good effect , but the impressive outside shooting of the Admirals Guards Jerrod Scott and Michael Mackelvie saw them through with a 51-31 win, to play Team USA Select 2 who already defeated them in the Group stage.
The Great Britain Police team, who were using the tournament as preparation for the European Forces Championship in 2016, came into the ‘B’ Final as slight favourites against a Bexhill Giants side who were surprised finalists. However the form book went out of the window as the Giants came out all guns blazing and opened up with a 10-2 run. The Police rallied and reduced the deficit but could not quell the slick offensive moves of the host Club as the Giants ran out 37-21 winners.
The last match of the day, the A Final saw the two teams on their respective European tours face up again, USA Select 2 and Lake Michigan Admirals. Both teams showed why had progressed to the final playing slick, intelligent, controlled basketball. The teams went toe to toe providing the impressive crowd with a fantastic exhibition. However in the closing minutes the deeper squad of Team USA Select were able to take control of the game in the closing stages against the tiring Admirals to run out winners 56-49 and become the inaugural World Club Basketball Tournament Champions.
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 fee