Summer 2016 will go down as the summer we took it back to the streets, with Ball Out emerging as Britain’s biggest outdoor summer streetball competition.
Supported by Midnight Madness and endorsed by FIBA, Ball Out invited teams from all across Europe to come to London to battle for the Ball Out crown at the UK’s iconic outdoor basketball court, TPL (aka Ducketts Common), with the lure of winning rites of passage through to compete for 30,000euros in Hungary as the official prize. However, as ever, when it comes to summer basketball, it’s never just about the money. With pride on the line and the chance to showcase the skills ballers have been working on from sun up to sun down all summer long – the competition was duty-bound to be intense.
It didn’t disappoint.
With teams coming in from France, Poland, Lithuania, Holland, Germany, and Greece and – alongside a heavyweight cast of well-know British ballers, the action was fast and furious all summer long and even welcomed back some bonafide UK streetball royalty (they don’t build them like this anymore…What up T!) :
Teams battled through three previous tournaments over the summer to qualify for the TPL showcase which culminated in a tense, action packed final as France clashed with GB (pretty sure we’ve done that before). France were represented by the University of Bordeaux, led by young gunner Eddy Steiner squaring off against the Asphalt Assassins, featuring qualified streetball legend Tarryn ‘The Teacher’ Algar and Robocop aka Jon Jay Johnson.
Bordeux did well to get to the final, beating the tournament favourites (according to FIBA rankings) Team Utrecht in a game that went down to the wire, while Aspahlt Assassins held their nerve to edge out Born2Ball from Poland with 2 deciding free throws at the end of double OT.
In the final it was Asphalt’s dynamic duo of Algar and Johnson leading the early flow with Johnson in particular, looking unstoppable with jumper locked in and loaded while slicing up Bordeux like Brie (google it…) on multiple drives to the basket.
It took some time for Bordeux to get going as the Assassins locked in on Steiner to restrict their flow, forcing Charles Albert and Aurélien Blanchard to get their games going if France were ever going to have a chance to claim the Ball Out Crown. Blanchard was the tallest player in the finals and finally started to show it, getting some rhythm going to the basket to pull Bordeux back to within 4 points with 6 minutes to go in the game.
Asphalt’s seemingly forgotten son (and currently FIBA ranked #1 English 3×3 player) Adam ‘Biscuit’ Lovelock re-introduced himself into proceedings with a nice drive and finish at the basket to restore Asphalt’s lead and it looked, at that stage, as though the 3 British ballers would be heading to Hungary to represent.
However, ‘the whistle’ had other ideas as the Assassins foul count began to rise with each following play – sending Bordeaux to the line plus possession time after excruciating time. Assassins tried valiantly to ‘beat the system’ but on this day, it was not to be – with Bordeaux finally running out winners 22-17.
Bordeaux move on to represent at the 3×3 Championship round in Hungary with a shot at making the World Championship finals in Qatar later in the year.
The final game signified the end to a great summer of streetball and already has everyone looking forward to Ball Out 2017, which promises to be even bigger, better and in more locations across the country.
Some additional special shout outs:
- The women’s competition was off the chain! Rochelle Davis is still NICE with it and was the best point guard on show all summer. Chyna Sawyers is all about the RIGHT things, plays the game the right way and had the best jumper on display from beyond the arc all day. Congratulations MM Women’s champion, Ilza Holsteina on winning ‘ANOTHER ONE’ in guiding her team to the womens open division championship.
- DJ Nadia J did her thing all day – smiles, beats and vibes kept the day moving in the right direction.
- Graham Hodges and Carol Moir were CLUTCH with the photographer – HUGE thanks to you guys for coming though!
- Got to love the names that come in when you have an ‘open entry’ team competition: ‘Skrub Slayers‘, ‘Didn’t Vote Brexit‘ and ‘Ital Is Vital’ probably took the titles for ‘name of the day’ – but it was close…
- Special shout out to ‘Young Russ’ aka Arif Sempala, former MM Champion coming through the baseline to show Poland he’s now fully grown (“Nobody called help!”):
For more on Ball Out: www.ball-out.co.uk
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