Oaklands Wolves u14 Girls at Globasket ’18!

Posted by on Apr 22, 2018 in Uncategorized | No Comments

After a 2017 experience in Calais where they finished in 2nd place, the Oaklands Wolves u14 girls were eager to take on the competition at Globasket ‘18 in Girona, where they would face talented international teams from Europe and beyond. Alongside the basketball the girls would have a chance to enjoy the beautiful Spanish sunshine by the pool and beach, take a trip into one of Europe’s most amazing cities, Barcelona, spend leisure time in each others company and watch high level Euroleague action. They returned from the experience with a wealth of international experience under their belt and some incredibly strong bonds developed in the face of challenges and success throughout the trip.

Day 1
The first day saw an incredibly excited group of players, supporters and Coach Will Twigg meet at the EasyJet check-in at Luton Airport, where there was some free time to grab “brunch” before a pleasant and relaxing flight to Barcelona airport. After a quick baggage reclaim, the group hopped onto the Globasket bus which drove them to the hotel in Lloret de Mar, their home away from home for the next 7 days.

The girls demanded a visit to the local beach, along the way picking up an American football to throw around. Upon returning to the hotel the girls joined the coaches in the hotel bar for a sing-song to one of Coach Twigg’s self-created tunes, before heading to bed for an early night ahead of their first game.

Day 2
The girls had a lie in, maximizing their rest time in preparation for their first matchup of the tournament against the Antwerp Giants of Belgium. They ate a delicious buffet breakfast, then checked out all the local playing venues for the tournament, of which all but one were within 10 minutes walk. During the trip the girls stumbled across a local park, where they had fun on the climbing frame, before returning to the hotel for a big lunch and to focus for the game.

They arrived at the Pompeu Fabra stadium nice and early to check out one of the tournament favourites, Aztlan of Mexico, dismantle a Swedish team. After an inspirational talk from Coach Twigg it was time to take the floor. A speedy start from the Oaklands girls saw them take a 24-8 lead at the end of the 1st quarter, from which they never looked back, keeping the pressure on throughout and winning comfortably 70-36. A happy group of girls returned to the hotel for dinner and then some fun in the games room before another early night in their rooms.

Day 3
A quick breakfast was followed by another trip to the beach with the American football, where Jocie braved the chilly Mediterranean and Grace S nominated herself to be buried in the sand by the rest of the team. Another big lunch at the hotel buffet was followed by a trip to the amazing Pavello el Moli 4-court stadium for game number two. They arrived early enough to get a few shots up on the outdoor court, before heading inside to take on CB Ferreries, a Spanish team who played strong, physical basketball. A shaky start saw the girls up 18-14 at the end of the 1st, however a much stronger 2nd quarter had them leading at the half 39-22. It was much the same in the 3rd quarter, as the girls extended their lead to 20 before a back and forth 4th quarter finished with a 57-41 win.

A sing-song ensued on the way back to the hotel, where the girls joined the Brentwood Leopards u14 boys outside by the hotel pool for a stretching session with Leopards assistant Coach Julie. Some girls braved the water, others decided to give it a miss. Despite the enormous buffet dinner at the hotel, the girls were still hungry and chose to head to the local McDonalds, with most of the girls ordering Happy Meals to match their moods. It was then another early night for them, with the hope of being thoroughly rested to go 3 from 3 in the group stage of the tournament.

Day 4
The girls woke up early to grab breakfast before the 10.30 am bus to Massanet de la Selva to take on the quirky HNMKY team from Finland. The group’s supporters grabbed some fresh fruit from the local supermarket while the girls watched some of the u14 boys’ teams battle it out. Coach Twigg got himself amped up for the game with some tunes on his headphones and some sweet dance moves, the latter of which leaving the girls very unimpressed (Note to Coach Twigg: work on your dance moves!). The Finnish team they played against had an amazing attitude, but were no match for the powerful Wolves as they continued their stellar run with a big 55-21 win, with everyone on the team contributing to their success.

Coach Twigg left something behind at the gym and had to do a forfeit of 20 push-ups, much to the delight of the team, and then it was a quick rush back to the hotel to catch the buffet lunch. To celebrate the days’ success, the girls headed to the local bowling and mini-golf centre with the Brentwood Leopards u14 boys – while the players didn’t show a promising future career in bowling, they were mightily impressed by BTM rep Alex and supporter Steph, who were knocking down pins for fun. Unfortunately the girls didn’t fare a whole lot better on the mini-golf easier, as Coach Twigg and Steph dominated the circuit, while Rosie was more concerned with making new friends on the Brentwood Leopards team. After a long and tiring day it was back to the hotel for an early night in preparation for their first playoff game.

Day 5
It was another early wake-up for the girls, followed by a big breakfast to get them prepared for the long and exciting day ahead. Later that morning they took care of business at Pavello el Moli versus Haga Haninge, devastating their Swedish opponents with an array of scores from long range and at the basket. The girls’ confidence was booming and the bonds they were continuing to build off the court were clearly evident on it, as their team chemistry and teamwork was second to none. After the game it was a very swift trip back to the hotel to shower and eat before jumping on the bus which would take them into the heart of Barcelona city centre.

The girls started at Plaça de Catalunya, making their way down to the gothic quarter via Barcelona Cathedral, as well as enjoying the local shopping with trips to two different Nike stores. For dinner they checked-in to the NBA Cafe on La Rambla where they dined on some delicious cuisine and were immersed in NBA basketball, as well as being given hundreds of NBA balloons and lollies at the end of the meal.

They were then whisked over to Palau Blaugrana, the famous FC Barcelona arena home to the basketball, handball, roller hockey and futsal teams. It was an experience of a lifetime for the coaches, supporters and players, with a chance to see a Euroleague game between FC Barcelona and Khimki Moscow of Russia, featuring some of Europe’s best players including Spanish legend Juan Carlos Navarro and Russian superstar Alexey Shved. The girls were given Barcelona t-shirts and flags, which they waved from their seats which were almost courtside! In a hugely exciting game in which Barcelona knocked down 17 3-point shots, the home team ran out winners with a 86-82 scoreline. After the game it was back on the bus which dropped the team back at the hotel at around midnight, a long but incredible day for the coaches, supporters and players.

Day 6
After a late night returning from their Barcelona experience, the girls had a nice long lay-in to rest and recuperate for their ensuing semi-final match-up later that day with Sparta Bartreng from Luxembourg. The girls took the time to eat a slow breakfast and take on plenty of much-needed hydration for their game. They walked to Municipal, the largest arena-style venue of the Globasket ‘18 tournament, which was about 10 minutes from the hotel and watched some boys u16 playoff action before taking the court for their warm-up. Both the team and supporters were really fired up, with the latter bringing along instruments including drums and horns to help rally the girls forward. In a hard-fought contest, the girls ended the first quarter up 16-8, but a fiery comeback from Sparta Bartreng in the 2nd left a score of 27-23 going into half-time. In the 3rd it all went downhill for the girls from Luxembourg, as both of their coaches were ejected for some flamboyant disagreements with the tournament referee, and at the end of the 3rd quarter with the Oaklands girls leading 46-35, the Sparta girls left the court and forfeited the game.

The girls celebrated their win with some ice cream by the swimming pool, and then a lovely dinner at the local pizzeria courtesy of supporters Joy and Phil. Supporter Lianne tried to persuade a local Spaniard to give her his electric scooter to make the journey back to the hotel a little easier, but unfortunately he declined. Millie made an amazing speech about the tour so far, and the impact it had made on both her and her Oaklands Wolves teammates. The girls went to bed with dreams of winning the u14 girls championship at Globasket

Day 7
An early wake up and big breakfast left the girls focused and ready for the task at hand – to defeat Aztlan of Mexico in the championship game! The girls had a good old sing-song on their way to Pavello el Moli, the 4-court stadium that would host most of the championship games, and entered the gym relaxed and ready to compete. Coach Twigg delivered an inspiring and motivating pre-game speech, while Steph read out the BTM blog from the team’s 2017 tour to Calais where they lost the championship game and finished in 2nd place. The stands were lined with Mexican and British supporters, setting the scene for an exciting finish to the tournament.

The Wolves started the game with incredible intensity, as Daisy poured in points with strong drives to the hoop and the girls played formidable defense against their Mexican opponents. They finished the quarter up 14-7 and looked full of confidence. However Aztlan were not to be outdone, and using their trapping defense and incredible passing that had gotten them to the championship, they began to undo the Oaklands girls’ defense with scores from inside and out, taking a 26-22 lead going into the half. In the 3rd they continued to extend their lead, as signs of fatigue began to creep into the Wolves’ camp, and the Aztlan girls held a 38-27 lead going into the final quarter. Despite their strong overall performance, the Oaklands girls could only trade baskets in the final quarter and couldn’t quite get the stops they needed to narrow the gap with Aztlan. As the final seconds ticked down, the Mexican girls celebrated their 49-40 win and the Globasket ‘18 championship!

Despite their loss, the girls were thrilled that they’d reached the finals and the supporters were proud of all their amazing efforts throughout the tournament. When they returned to the hotel for their final afternoon in Lloret de Mar, they hung out with the Brentwood Leopards boys and Grace used her final ounces of energy to bust out an impressive cartwheel into a flip! Coach Twigg was rewarded for his coaching efforts by being ambushed and pushed into the icy cold pool in his clothes, and some of the girls jumped in with the hotel Zumba class for some last minute exercise. After a bus journey to Barcelona airport and a swift check-in, a long wait at departures led the girls to blast music from their speakers while creating a cat-walk, through which several of the girls strutted their stuff. A safe and relaxed flight got them back to Luton airport late in the evening, where they were picked up by their parents and made their way back to their respective homes.

It was an amazing 7-day journey for this wonderful group of girls, coaches and supporters, who delighted in each others company both on and off the court. As we write this blog, the Oaklands Wolves girls currently have a chance to win the national championship as they recently reached the national league final fours! We are incredibly excited to see how the team progresses, and look forward to our next overseas experience with them…

We are now taking bookings for Globasket 19 !!!

Checkout the Globasket 19 tour page for more details