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The annual World Club Basketball Tournament, hosted by Bexhill Giants returned to Hastings for the second time over the 10th and 11th September and continued to produce some of the best basketball action seen at an international event hosted in England.
Following its inception in 2015 the WCBT has grown to become one of the biggest international tournaments hosted in the UK, with teams representing Canada, USA & England taking part.
The objective of tournament was to provide players off all abilities 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, and England.
In addition the tournament included some of the best playing talent seen in a UK tournament with British Basketball Cup winners, NBA representatives and Euro League stars taking part, as well as referees from Holland and Spain making the trip to be art of the tournament.
There were a total of ten teams which took part, an increase on the eight which competed in 2015, the teams competing were:
Group 1 Group 2
USAF Lakenheath Eagles - USA USA Select Red
Argyle Kings - England ABA Toronto Knights - Canada
U-Hoops World - USA Beyond Ballers Heaven Select - USA
Elite - England West London Basketball Club - England
USA Select 1- White Coventry Tornadoes - England
The tournament format consisted of two groups of five teams with the top four of each group progressing ‘A’ Finals and the third and fourth placed progressing to the ‘B’ Final.
The fifth placed team from each group the progressed to the Kidney Research UK Plate Final.
After an excellent first day of competitive basketball USA Select’s White and Red teams dominated proceedings with 100% records in their respective group matches with four victories, they were joined in the A Semi-finals by USAF Lakenheath Eagles and Canada’s ABA Toronto Knights both having suffered defeats to the USA Select teams.
Which teams would progress to the ‘B’ Semi Finals was a more complicated affair with the English teams Coventry Tornadoes, West London Basketball Club, Sussex Elite and Argyle Kings putting up strong displays against talented USA teams Beyond Ballers Heaven Select and U-Hoops World in their respective group matches. However the ‘B’ Semi Finals would see U-Hoops World take on West London Basketball Club and Beyond Ballers Heaven compete against Sussex Elite in the Anglo American match ups on Day 2 of the tournament as the third finishers in the groups took on the fourth placed teams.
The Kidney Research UK Plate match for the fifth placed teams in the groups would see the energetic Argyle Kings compete against the well organised Coventry Tornadoes.
Day two of the tournament started with a well-attended youth coaching session hosted by USA Select Coaches and players, then it was straight in to the action with the semi-finals.
The first match of the day saw an exciting match up as USA Select Red Team defeated a spirited USAF Lakenheath 46-40 in the A Semi Final in front of a well-attended crowd.
The second ‘A’ semi final saw USA Select White, put in a dominant display against an injury hit ABA Toronto Knights team to run out 60-39 winners and progress to the ‘A’ Final to face their counterpart
The ‘B’ Semi Finals were up next with the local side Sussex Elite up against the experienced USA team Beyond Ballers Heaven Select, but the USA side proved too athletic and experienced running out winners 35-20.
The second Semi Final would see an American clean sweep as the brave West London Basketball Club were defeated by a well drilled U-Hoops World team 31-19 , as the they set up a final against Beyond Ballers Heaven Select. MORE DETAILS CAN BE FOUND ON THE FACEBOOK PAGE LINK
An excellent weekend of basketball was concluded with the finals matches which saw the Argyle Kings defeat the Coventry Tornadoes in 38-34 after overtime during an exciting match.
The ‘B’ Final between the USA teams was a tense affair until the finals minutes before the sharpshooting of the Ballers Heaven Select saw them oust their countrymen 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 & White teams became a bit of an exhibition match as the teams put on a display for the crowd with excellent dunks and entertainment for the crowd. The Final result saw USA Select Red retain their title running out 44-35 winners, to retain the title they won last year
All proceeds from the weekend will go to Kidney Research UK, a charity very close to Event Organiser Eric Douglin, after he received a kidney from his wife Mandi, and the tournament was opened by Beccy Boyle, South East Fundraiser for the Charity.
Douglin said “I am really pleased weekend progressed which started with the exhibition match between USA Select and Toronto Knights played in front of a full house at the Bexhill Leisure Centre. To have teams of this caliber compete in 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, and we have already received entries for 2017 which will be bigger and better”