Kings triumph in European Success
Edinburgh Kings have not stopped their campaign for elite competition for a summer break as they sent two teams into Europe. First up, the U14 boys set their sights for the Tourni International Basketball (TIB) held in Wimereux, France. The squad led by coaches Fraser Black and Katie McPherson – and assisted by Craig Nicol – took on Belgian sides Wanze and Quaregnon as well as French sides Joer and hosts Wimereux.
The Scots took wins over the hosts and Quaregnon after two nail-biting losses to open up the group stages. As well as competitive games, there was an All-Star game in the fixture list with the best players from across day one set to kit up. Edinburgh’s own Lennox Miller suited up for the Rest of the World as they took on the best French players in the tournament.
Day 2 was opened up with a loss to Calais Academy and a final win over Ferques to clinch 11th place in the tournament.
Up next was the Junior Men who flew out to Portugal. A squad that has taken on some of the top tier teams in England for the past two seasons, took the opportunity to go up against some of Europe’s top teams. Hosted by Clube Desportivo da Póvoa, Kings were also set to take on FC Porto, Wales and CB Viana.
Host side Póvoa had themselves a successful season, coming runners up in the Portuguese Playoffs. A tough opening game saw Kings run them close before foul trouble let the Portuguese side run away 91-73.
Another Portuguese giant was up next for Edinburgh as FC Porto took the court. Coming from a club with significant financial baking, Porto would naturally become the favourites. But a gallant Edinburgh side handed them a spanking, 86-64, with a dominant 24-6 final period.
The Welsh U18 side took Kings right to the wire, with the Scots coming out 65-63 winners before a second loss to the host side 86-65 – only to be outdone by a poor final period after only being down 3 after the third.
The final game for Kings came against an U20 side – CB Viana. Almost ironic, as U20 should be the natural progression after junior basketball. However, with no U20 set up in the country, the final game of the tour was the final game for some in a Kings strip. An emotional side took a dominant 79-61 win, with the club reporting that each leaver was subbed out individually to a standing ovation from team-mates, coaches and fans in the dying moments.
A successful trip to Europe for more Scottish basketball, maybe this becomes the norm and success out with the country is to be expected. Maybe we are not so far away from Europe as we thought.