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15 November 2023
By Sean O’Connell
Junior basketballers and their families descended on stadiums in Horsham, Warracknabeal and Dimboola for a three-day tournament at the weekend.
Horsham Amateur Basketball Association president Matthew Grace said more than 1000 people participated in, watched or contributed in some way to the Intersport Horsham Junior Classic.
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“There were 90 teams entered, including Horsham teams, with eight to 10 players in a team as well as parents, friends and family,” he said.
Mr Grace said teams travelled from towns and larger regional centres including Colac, Hamilton, Swan Hill, Portland, Warracknabeal and Ararat.
“From a Horsham coaching perspective, the teams really enjoy playing against Hamilton, Portland and Colac,” he said.
“We don’t often see Swan Hill, and they made grand finals in most of the age groups.”
Mr Grace said the tournament was an opportunity for teams to have an early test against opposition they will face at Junior Country Championships in March and April.
He said support was strong during the tournament, both from the sidelines and online.
“The stand in the main stadium was full for grand finals,” he said.
“We were also able to livestream on court one. During the under-18s grand final, we had close to 100 people watching the livestream.”
Mr Grace said the amount of people the tournament brought to the area, and the economic benefit from the event, was ‘great’.
“A lot of coaches said coming to Horsham was a great experience,” he said.
“Whether that was going out for breakfast, a coffee or to a restaurant, they said people were really welcoming.”
Mr Grace said the feeling was similar in Warracknabeal and Dimboola, which hosted games on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
“Warracknabeal got a good turnout, which brought people through the town, which will help them as well,” he said.
“It was the same at Dimboola – it was good to spread it around.”
Mr Grace thanked everyone who had made the annual event possible.
“We can’t run a tournament without volunteers, parents and families. It takes a lot for it to happen,” he said.
“Our board put in a massive effort. We had the tournament director as well as the ex-tournament director helping out. The person doing the fixture did a great job, as we had coaches who were coaching multiple teams.
“The referees by all reports were also fantastic.
“Intersport, our major sponsor, helped a lot.”
Horsham Hornets took out the under-16 boys’ grand final, defeating Swan Hill Flyers. The Hornets also played in grand finals in the under-18 boys’ division one, under-18 girls, under-12 boys and under-12 girls.
Warracknabeal Wildcats played in grand finals in under-14 boys’ division one and under-14 girls’ division two.
The entire November 15, 2023 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!