In what is now becoming an annual part of the FastBreak calendar, over the Easter Break, we took 2 teams to the Adelaide Easter Classics in Australia. The tournament includes 250 teams over 6 different multi-court stadiums with both our teams being fortunate to play their finals in the 8000 seat Titanium Arena. This year we took our 12U boys as well as a team to play in the girls 14U grade.
Our group of 24 flew into Adelaide on Thursday morning and quickly set off to our hotel. Easter is an ideal time to visit Adelaide as it is Autumn but the weather is still quite warm. We were staying in the heart of the CBD at Peppers on Waymouth, and this gave us an ideal chance to start our visit with lunch and the purchase of some fresh food at the Adelaide Central Market.
After a quick break, we all met back at the hotel and headed off to the Gorge Wildlife Park in the Adelaide Hills. Our players and parents were able to visit many of Australia’s native animals and feed some wallabies, kangaroo and even had a cuddle with Koala bears. We finished the evening all together having dinner at a local Aussie pub before getting to bed early.
We started our games on Friday with the girls getting the ball rolling in a win against Adelaide club Forestville Eagles. One of our girls had a friend who is now living in Adelaide and she joined the team for their games and activities. The boys followed this up with an impressive win themselves. Unfortunately, a couple of players were unable to join us as planned so the boys welcomed some local players to join them for their games. The boys took them under their wing and involved them in the group from the start. It was great to see both teams vocally supporting each other and bonding over the course of the trip. Later that day both teams headed in different directions for games but in what would be a common theme, all met up after the game for dinner.
Last year one father found himself some Ethiopian cuisine, and this year he took the whole group to the restaurant. This evening showed how well the group was going to get along with conversation and drinks flowing while we all got to taste different styles of food.
Saturday games didn’t start until the afternoon, so we took the time to head down to Glenelg beach, for some brunch and fun. Players were able to have a swim and an impromptu game of football while also sharing a great meal to start the day. Both teams headed down to Port Adelaide for their games and were able to keep their undefeated records intact; The girls winning their game in the final seconds. Jacqueline had an outstanding fourth quarter, scoring 7 points including a three-point play on an and-1.
That night it was another father’s turn to organise dinner and he did not disappoint. We headed to the local Greek restaurant and we ate up a storm. Both parents and players were able to sample many different types of greek food and for some reason, as soon as the wine on the table looked like it was finished, one parent managed to find a couple more bottles in his backpack. We did head back at a reasonable hour as Sunday’s games were important to our playoff positions.
On Sunday, the girls were playing their semi-final in a must win game against a team they had already beaten the first time around. Even under pressure, the girls stuck together and managed to force another win. The boys also had an important game, with a win ensuring they progressed to the finals regardless of the result in their final game. The boys managed to execute on their game plan and received a well-deserved win.
Following their games, the players headed back to the hotel for a quick rest, while the families were able to again get lunch at the markets and the boys prepared for their game. This game was going to be a preview of the boys final with both teams heading in undefeated. The FastBreak boys started slowly, not ready for the increase in intensity from previous games, but as the game went along, they pulled back the lead and were in front in the last quarter before narrowly losing by 5.
On Monday morning, we needed to check out and head down to Titanium Arena, home of the local professional team the Adelaide 36ers, for back to back finals games. The boys were up first and again it was a high standard game with the lead changing back and forth throughout the game. Unfortunately again, the boys were unable to overcome their opponent, but it was a thrilling final. The girls were up next and got off to a hot start, but as the game progressed their fatigue set in, and they were unable to get the best of their opponents. Despite their best efforts, the girls also with the silver.
After the Championship games, we needed to quickly head to the airport for our flights home and bid farewell to our new friends. All in all, it was another successful tournament, with families and players enjoying their trip to Australia. Our players really stepped up this year and we look forward to making the trip with even more players again next Easter.