Richmond Knights Take On the Globasket ’19 Tournament

Posted by on Jun 6, 2019 in Uncategorized | No Comments

The Richmond Knights took on Globasket for the 3rd straight year, this time bringing three Girls teams at age U12, U13 and U14 where they would play in U13/14 and U16 categories. It would be a huge test for the girls, challenging their skills, teamwork and resilience to the maximum! The U12’s were led by Coach Chanel, the 13’s by Coach Alain and the 14’s by Coach Rhys, while Knights Director James Merchant and BTM Rep Rikki Broadmore helped oversee the experience.

Day 1 – Friday

The U12 and U13 Girls met at Gatwick airport, where they bustled through check-in and security. There was a slight delay so the girls took the time to hang out in the departure lounge and build up their excitement for the tour, before it was time to board the flight to Barcelona! There was a huge buzz on board the plane as the team settled into their seats and prepared for the two-hour flight to Barcelona Airport.

Upon arrival the group was met by the Globasket bus, on which the players and coaches jumped on for the hour ride to Lloret de Mar.

The Hotel Samba would be their home for the next 7 days, and after a quick bite to eat in the hotel restaurant, the girls were checked in to their rooms and headed to bed for some rest.

Day 2 – Saturday

After a lie-in and some extra sleep, the girls headed downstairs for the hotel buffet breakfast where they enjoyed a wide selection of eggs, bacon, sausages, cakes, fruit, yoghurt and more. It was then a trip to the seaside for both teams, where they took advantage of Lloret de Mar’s long stretch of sandy beach and the marketplace and were treated to a little mid-morning ice cream.

After a hearty lunch both teams began their preparation for Game 1 of the tournament, with the U12’s playing against Antwerp Giants of Belgium and the U13’s taking on Escolapios Bilbao from the North of Spain.

The U12’s headed to Vilobi to take on the Belgians, who were considerably older than the British Girls and would prove an extremely challenging test in the first game of the young Knights’ campaign. The Giants jumped out to a big lead in the first quarter and didn’t look back, while the young Knights team continued to battle hard. In the end the age and experience proved to be the decisive factor, as the Belgian team came away 109-19 winners. It was a tough lesson for Richmond, however they could hold their heads high at having continued to fight for the whole game.

Meanwhile in Sils, the Knights U13 Girls were also facing one of the toughest teams in the group, the Escolapios Bilbao team who were also big, strong and very experienced. The first half was a very defensive effort, as few baskets were traded by either team with a score of 16-8 favouring the Spanish side going into the 2nd half. However Bilbao came out all guns blazing in the 3rd quarter, winning it with a 25-3 margin as the Knights struggled to find their rhythm offensively. It was the huge 3rd quarter for the Spanish team that did the trick, and despite a valiant 10-8 4th quarter favouring the Knights, they lost the game 49-21.

Both Knights teams did themselves very proud on Day 1, facing a level of international competition they’d never come across before but approaching each game with resilience and effort. After some dinner back at Hotel Samba it was time to settle down for the evening and get some rest in prep for their 2nd respective games of the tournament.

Day 3 – Sunday

The U13 Girls had an earlier game on Sunday, grabbing some breakfast and then heading to Vilobi for a 10.45 am tip-off versus the best Girls team in Ireland, the Limerick Celtics. All of the Knights teams were playing up an age group for the entirety of the tournament, and the Celtics would prove to be another exceptional team that would provide another great learning experience for the U13 Girls.

A blistering start by the Irish side gave them a comfortable lead at the end of the first quarter. However the Knights refused to back down, and in the remaining quarters showed their toughness as they lost the 2nd, 3rd and 4th by a mere 15, 6 and 8 points respectively. The final score of 100-43 to the Celtics was very much indicative of the Irish squad’s hot start, and the Knights U13 Girls could take several positives into their next Globasket game.

Meanwhile the U12 Girls had a more relaxed morning, taking their time at breakfast and spending some quality down time together before a big afternoon of basketball. They then headed to Vilobi to play CB Chinato, a team from Caceres in the West of Spain. Chinato had dropped their first game against Bilbao, so were eager to try and get themselves their first win of Globasket ‘19 versus the young Knights team.

The first quarter was a real battle for both teams, with shots not dropping at either end thanks to some intense defensive pressure, and it finished 11-6 in favour of the Spanish side. However a huge 2nd quarter push by the Spaniards opened up the scoreline, a lead from which the Knights would struggle to get back into the game. However the girls did keep pushing themselves and each other, and an awesome 4th quarter which they won 22-21 meant the score finished at 87-43 to CB Chinato.

After the game the Spanish team presented the Knights Girls with some gifts, which they were all delighted with, and they headed back to the hotel with their heads held high.

After the games the teams went for a walk into the town, where the girls were allowed to do some shopping, and was then time for Knights’ “bowling night”, where players were split into 4 teams with each team featuring a coach or a rep. James set the challenge for the girls to beat the coaches, and the winner would get to push the loser into the freezing cold pool at the hotel! James destroyed all competition – however unfortunately Alain wasn’t quite as successful, finding himself on the losing end of the scoreline and being pushed into the pool the next day!

Meanwhile the Knights U14 Girls, fresh off a national quarter-final victory to reach the final fours, boarded their plane for Globasket with an air of huge excitement to join their fellow Knights Girls’ teams in Lloret de Mar. After a swift flight and bus transfer they tumbled into the hotel in the early hours, where they were greeted by the coaching staff and rep Rikki, and went straight to bed in prep for a huge day of basketball on the Monday…

Day 4 – Monday

The U14 Girls were thrown straight into the mix, with all 3 of their group games to be played on the day in order to catch up with the other teams who’d been at the tournament since Saturday. They were also playing up in the U16 division, which would be a huge test of their abilities and toughness for the next 3 days. They arose early for a quick breakfast before jumping on the bus to Sils to take on TIKS, a team from Finland who currently sat at 0-2 and were desperate to grab a win.

Despite some fantastic energy and effort to start the game from the Knights Girls, they soon found themselves down 14-6 at the end of the first quarter and facing an uphill battle to get back in the game. A much better 2nd quarter, which they only dropped by 2 points, gave great inspiration going into half-time however the Girls ran out of steam in the 2nd half and the Finnish team came away 53-21 winners. The Girls had struggled to keep up with the physicality and intensity of the game, in which they all contributed a lot of minutes and time on the court. It was back to the drawing board for Game 2 which would be against SISU of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Meanwhile in Tossa de Mar the U12’s were taking on the top team in the group, Colexio Mariano, which would be an eye-opening experience for the young Knights. Colexio Mariano were from Vigo on Spain’s Northwest coast, who played exceptional basketball both as a team and individuals.

The Spanish jumped out to a racing start in the first quarter, using their incredible ball movement and defensive intensity to score baskets and close down the English girls’ offense. It was much the same through the next 3 quarters as they were relentless in their pressure on the Knights and ultimately came away with a 114-31 victory. Despite the loss the girls were upbeat and took a team photo with their new Spanish friends, before heading back to the hotel for some well-deserved buffet lunch.

The U14’s were back on court in Sils, where they would face the aforementioned Danish team SISU who had lost a close battle with CBS Barcelona earlier that morning. The game started with a bang as both teams traded some huge buckets, with the first quarter finishing 26-22. However a massive 2nd quarter by SISU, which they won by 32 points, opened up the game and put the pressure on the young Knights to respond. After half-time the Knights girls came out fighting, but SISU had found their rhythm and began to show why they were one of the top 2 teams in the group with some physical and tough basketball. Final score was 94-36 to SISU.

The U13’s were in Tossa de Mar for their afternoon game against Colegio Tacoronte, a team from the beautiful city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The Knights Girls were really fired up for the contest and came out the blocks with some tremendous defensive intensity, as well as working hard to get great shots which they converted at a high rate. At the end of the 1st quarter the Knights held a 21-17 lead, which they took with confidence into the 2nd quarter and continued to play great basketball, ending the half up 37-31.

The Girls looked full of confidence and self-belief when they stepped back onto the floor for the 2nd half, and after a strong 3rd and 4th quarter they notched the Richmond Knights first win of Globasket ‘19 at 74-57!

The final Knights game of the evening would be the 14’s versus the powerful CBS Barcelona team, who were thus far undefeated in the group including a win against the tough Danish team SISU earlier in the day. Both the Knights 12’s and 13’s travelled to Sils to support their teammates, making for a tremendous atmosphere in the gymnasium.

A combination of a highly fatigued team of Knights and an exceptionally strong and older CBS Barcelona group led to the most difficult game of the Knights U14 Globasket ‘19 campaign. However it was a truly impressionable learning experience as they battled the toughest adversity many of them had faced in their young careers. CBS Barca showed why they are one of the top teams in Europe, with outstanding shooting, passing and footwork that dazzled their opponents and those watching on from the sidelines. The 108-16 scoreline led the Barcelona Girls to top the group and advance to the next round undefeated. Meanwhile the exhausted Knights Girls, who didn’t show any signs of giving up throughout their mammoth day, returned to the hotel for dinner and collapsed into bed to get some well-earned sleep.

Day 5 – Tuesday

After an incredibly intense Monday of basketball, the U14 Girls had some down time on Tuesday to enjoy the delightful beach on offer at Lloret and get some much needed rest in preparation for another set of challenging games Wednesday.

The first Knights game of the day would be in Tossa de Mar for the U13’s, who would play their final group game against Soraluce Bergara from Gipuzkoa, Spain. This Basque team had lost their previous game against Limerick Celtics and had everything to play for against the young British girls.

It was a strong start for both teams, with only a couple of lapses in concentration from the Knights leading to the difference in scores at the end of the 1st as the Spanish team led 14-11. Some great defensive play from the Knights kept them in the game, but they found themselves down 26-14 at the half as they struggled to convert scores in the 2nd quarter.

The Knights came out firing in the 2nd half, clawing back as best they could and winning the quarter 9-7 to reduce the deficit to a mere 10 points going into the final period. However the Basque teams age and experience was the difference as they pulled away to win 42-25. It was another fantastic effort by the Knights U13, who’s spirit had been so impressive for the entirety of their Globasket campaign so far.

They headed back to the hotel for lunch and to get themselves ready for an evening in Barcelona with the rest of the Knights teams.

The Richmond Knights U12’s were in Tossa de Mar that afternoon to play against Escolapios Bilbao, who were pushing for 1st place in the group and needed a big win against the young English team. It was a blistering start for the big, strong Spanish team and they pushed out to an early lead. However the young Knights weren’t disheartened and continued to battle their bigger, older and more physical opponents, scoring 20 points against them but giving up 66 as the 3rd quarter buzzer sounded. In a wonderfully sporting display, the teams mixed it up for the final quarter to create two evenly matched teams who enjoyed each other’s camaraderie for the remainder of the game.

The girls were all chuffed after their match-up with Escolapios Bilbao, shuttling back to the hotel on the Globasket bus for a quick shower before hopping back on a bus to Barcelona for an evening in the city with the rest of the Knights girls and coaches!

The evening came around quickly and the girls were really excited about the tour to Barcelona city centre. On the journey the group had a quick team meeting, as Manchester United were playing Barcelona at the Nou Camp so it was very important to make sure the players were safe throughout. As the players and staff arrived in the city there was a buzzing atmosphere, which increased the excitement for all.

The Knights were dropped off at Casa Batlló, but unfortunately it was covered as repairs were happening. The girls were given an explanation of the history of the building that was in front of them – however they then saw a shop next to the building and instead of taking pictures of history, they were standing taking pictures of its neighbouring store!

The group then took an hour walk around the city to take in the culture that was on offer, stopping at every opportunity to take lots of pictures and do some souvenir shopping.

The Knight’s last destination was the NBA Cafe, which was an awesome experience for the girls. On arrival the team was escorted upstairs by the manager and taken to the VIP table, where famous NBA players go to eat. The table took up the whole room, with 4 waiters and basketball on demand on the TVs surrounding. The food came out and was demolished by all the Girls within minutes of being put in front of them, and they then took a short walk back to the bus to return back to Lloret De Mar.

Day 6 – Wednesday

The U13 Girls were first to arise on the Wednesday, where they shovelled down a swift breakfast at the hotel before heading to Tossa de Mar for an exciting quarter-final matchup against Colexio Mariano, who had finished in 1st place in Group A. This was a tremendous opportunity for the Girls to take on a team that would make it all the way to the finals, and a real test of their character.

Colexio showed early on why they were one of the top teams in the tournament, scoring from inside and outside and dazzling the spectators with their exceptional ball movement. They played super high-pressure defense on the Knights Girls, for whom this was such an important lesson in international basketball.

The Spanish team were relentless throughout, as most European teams are in international tournaments, and they won the game 72-21 to advance to the semifinals of Globasket ‘19. While the scoreboard reflected a really difficult game for the Knights Girls, they had grown so much as a group throughout their Globasket experience and Coach Alain was incredibly proud of how they performed and conducted themselves, saying “it was a great experience for the girls, who were all a pleasure to be around and to coach.”

There was some time for a bit of rest and relaxation, as the U12 Girls went to the beach in the morning before their game, and the U13 Girls went after theirs. They had a lot of fun enjoying Lloret de Mar’s long stretches of sand and sea, and ended up playing volleyball and burying poor old Coach Alain in the sand, much to their amusement.

The U14 Girls began their Wednesday campaign against Colegio Tacoronte at the Municipal Stadium, a grand venue located just 5 minutes walk from the Hotel Samba. After a day of rest the Girls felt fresh and ready to do battle with their Spanish opponents, who that morning had lost to another Spanish team Vall D’En Bass by a mere 4 points.

In a closely fought 1st half the Richmond Girls showed why they are one of the four best teams in England, taking a 6 point deficit and turning it into a mere 1 point deficit going into half-time. The girls had tremendous spirit, and after an inspirational team talk from Coach Rhys at halftime they came out in the 2nd half with a chip on their shoulder and came fighting back, winning the quarter 12-9 and taking a 2-point lead into the 4th. However it would be the Spanish Girls that would ultimately prevail, as they stepped up the physicality in the final period and finished strongly around the basket, downing the Knights 51-47 in what was an incredible battle in the Municipal Stadium.

It was back to the drawing board for the U14 Girls, who walked back to the hotel for some much needed rest and recuperation before their final game of the tournament.

After a restful morning, the U12 Girls were in Tossa de Mar for a 4pm tip off against Colegio Tacoronte who had finished in 5th place in Group B. This “consolation” game would be the final match-up for both teams in the tournament, who would leave everything on the floor to finish out a challenging but rewarding Globasket ‘19 experience.

Director James Merchant said of the U12 Girls, “while their basketball skills were tested to the max, they displayed other skills that are of much greater importance for their future success in whatever they choose to do – grit, determination, teamwork, resilience and a willingness to learn and improve. As a young group each of them had different challenges to face and they worked through them both individually and together, as teammates should.”

On to the action, and a closely fought 1st quarter between the two teams revealed glimpses of this young team’s incredibly bright future, with Coach Chanel looking on as her girls pieced together an impressive offensive display and a close-knit defense that surprised the much older Spanish team. At the end of the 1st it was 16-12 against the Knights, but they had shown so much promise and determination to put themselves in such a close position.

Colegio Tacoronte’s coach pushed their girls to step up the defensive effort in the 2nd quarter and they responded well, allowing the Knights to score only 3 points while they scored relentlessly in transition. It opened up the game hugely and the Spanish side continued to grind away in the 2nd half, eventually winning the game 78-32.

Despite the loss the U12 Girls continued to smile and stay incredibly positive, a testament to their wonderful natures that will serve them very well both on and off the court as they get older.

The U14 Girls headed to Sils for their final game of Globasket ‘19, where they would play Vall D’En Bass who had beaten Colegio Tacoronte 54-50 earlier that day. The Girls had faced tremendous adversity in the tournament so far, with a late arrival on Sunday and 3 grueling games on the Monday, as well as being 2 years younger than all the competition they were facing. Despite these roadblocks they had fought on, showing the spirit and skill that had led them to become one the best U14 teams in the UK.

They were fired up to secure a win in their last game before returning home, and the first quarter was a back and forth affair that finished all square at 14-14. It was again very close in the 2nd quarter, with Vall D’En Bass opening up a merel 3-point lead going into the break, and there was everything to play for in the 2nd half.

In the 2nd half the Knights Girls continued to grind away, giving everything they had to stay in contention as Vall D’En Bass desperately tried to build on their lead, which they successfully did but only by 8 points going into the 4th with the score at 58-50. The 4th quarter belonged (just) to the Knights, who refused to drop their heads and poured 21 points in, but it wasn’t quite enough as Vall D’En Bass stayed strong and won the game 78-71. It was a mighty effort from the British Girls that deserved a victory, but it wasn’t to be for them on this day.

While the U14 Girls were playing their final game, the U13’s and U12’s took to the beach, fitting in a little bit of shopping on their journey down there. Once finished the U14’s were dropped off at the beach to meet their teammates. The teams ordered pizza from a local Italian pizzeria, which was followed by a presentation led by Director James Merchant. There were a number of awards for each team, and short speeches from the coaches and award winners. The U12’s also offered their singing services with a lovely song to entertain the rest of the group!

Day 7 – Thursday

After an intense week of basketball the Girls and Coaches were exhausted, and enjoyed some time sleeping in before arising to eat breakfast and check-out of their rooms.

The players and coaching staff finished the trip with a beautiful walk through the hills of Lloret de Mar which overlooked the ocean and had some incredible views, and on the way back the Girls managed to fit in more shopping.

Once back at the hotel the Knights grabbed their bags and hopped on a bus to Barcelona airport, where there were smiles, laughter and a little bit of snoozing before arriving to check-in and board the plane.

As always it was a joy to host the tremendous Richmond Knights, a club that has some of the most passionate and dedicated coaches, players and supporters in the country, a testament to the culture and leadership that is promoted in the organization. Their teams faced enormous adversity throughout Globasket ‘19, handling it with grace and class and learning throughout their entire journey.

We are very excited to host their National Finalist U16 Boys & Girls and their U18 Boys in Boston this upcoming July for the US experience of a lifetime!