Scorpions Basketball Academy’s Whirlwind Trip to Paris!
This past weekend we took the Scorpions Basketball Academy from Shoeburyness, Essex to Paris for a whirlwind weekend of basketball and Parisian culture!
The group set off in their minibus led by Coaches Dan & Matt Seaman, closely followed by parent Leon Murray driving an additional bus. They picked up BTM rep Tom Ward at Ashford and headed to Folkestone where the Eurotunnel would transport them to French shores.
In the Boys u16 group there was Jai, Jeremy, Saleem, Dylan, Zach, Alfie, Gjorel and Evan and the Boys u14 group featured Jacob, Tom, Sean, Josh, Corey, Kai, Alfie and William. All the boys were absolutely buzzing to reach Paris, and after a long drive south we reached the French capital, greeted with an amazing view of the illuminated Eiffel Tower. We reached the hotel and the boys, coaches and parents settled down in their rooms to get some much-needed sleep!
Saturday morning began with a quick continental breakfast and a trip to the local supermarket to grab some snacks for later in the day, before Coach Dan and Leon navigated the Paris traffic in the respective buses. We drove past the Arc de Triomphe and Place de la Concorde amongst other landmarks, before reaching the Louvre, where we parked and strolled around amongst the tourists and locals. The boys snapped a few photos, photo-bombed some tourists, bought some souvenirs and shared some laughs before we headed back to the bus to drive to Game 1 of the tour.
We arrived in the town of Cergy to play against Cergy-Pontoise, an elite club with a Men’s professional side in the NM2 league. The 14’s were up first, and were pitted against a fast and athletic team who handled and passed the ball exceptionally well and played intense full court pressure defense. It was an excellent test for the 14’s, who battled hard for the entirety of the game but fell to defeat 75-47.
Next up were the 16’s, who faced an equally aggressive and skilled group that played tremendous fast-break basketball. It was a huge eye-opener for the boys, who worked hard but at times struggled with the full court pressure they were up against and fell to defeat 110-41.
We took a quick trip to the local mall to buy some dinner, which was a stone’s throw from the stadium, and then dashed back to watch the NM2 Men’s game between the hosts Cergy-Pontoise and Holtzheim Vogesia. It was an amazing opportunity for the boys to see high-level play and a fantastic game-night experience the club put on. After the final buzzer, which saw the host club win in emphatic fashion 102-63, we drove back to the hotel to get some rest.
The next morning it was another early start, as we headed to Stade Français in central Paris to play more games against French opposition. The stadium plays host to the Paris Saint-Germain handball team, as well as featuring multiple basketball courts. The 16’s took on Courbevoie Basket on Court 2 while the 14’s faced Stade Français, with both Scorpions teams giving everything they had at both ends.
The 16’s went down to the wire, hitting a big 3 to take a 2-point lead but giving up an and-1 at the other end with 3 seconds on the clock. The Courbevoie player calmly sunk his free throw, and after a timeout the Scorpions weren’t able to get a score before the buzzer sounded and the French stole the victory 46-45. The 14’s struggled with some minor injuries, which left a shortened bench and some tired boys trying to fend off a fast, athletic and strong Stade Français team. The boys weren’t able to keep up and the French side won 98-29.
After an emotional finish to their first game, the exhausted 16’s had one more game against Stade Français’ u17 boys team, which featured multiple players over 6’6 and some strong and physical guards. A couple of super-subs in Coach Matt and BTM rep Tom offered some solid support, and the team soldiered on to offer the French team a challenging contest, eventually falling 82-44.
We hopped back in the buses for a short journey to the Eiffel Tower, where the heavens decided to open, soaking us from head to toe while we snapped photos of the boys in front of this incredible landmark. Once back on the bus and a little more dry, we grabbed some food and began the journey back to Calais to take the Eurotunnel home. The boys enjoyed a thrilling and competitive few rounds of the “word game,” and laughed and joked for the entire journey back to the UK. The bus dropped Tom off in Ashford and then made its way back to Shoeburyness to get the boys home to bed!