Published on: 15 February 2013

Eighteen Christ Church basketball players took part in the ultimate pre-season training on tour in Hawaii. The boys competed in the World Youth Basketball Tournament (WYBT) Holiday Invitational in Kona during the summer holidays.

Led by tour staff Brad Downing (Firsts coach), Antony Kalebic (Seconds coach) and Mike Ristovsky, Christ Church fielded two teams in the competitive tournament playing seven games in 10 days.

Mr Downing said the Firsts and Seconds won three out their seven games against quality opposition, which included five local Hawaiian teams as well as one New Zealand team. From Day 1, the boys experienced just how quick US basketball could be against the Hawaiian champion team and another competitive local side.

At a games night held during the tournament, Christ Church walked away with several awards including the slam dunk contest and the three-point competition, won by Jet Hunter (Year 12); the free throw competition won by Mr Downing; the coaches’ three-point competition won by Mr Ristovsky; and the coaches’ three-on-three competition.

During the tournament, the group enjoyed sightseeing on the Grand Big Island WYBT Party Tour where stops included the Hamakua Coast, Rainbow Falls, Hawaii Volcano Observatory and Punaluu Black Sand Beach.

At the end of the tour, the boys spent three days at Waikiki where they shopped and surfed. They played one game against a local team and watched a thrilling buzzer beater between the University of Hawaii and California State Fullerton – a highlight for the group. Mr Downing said the boys seemed to love every aspect of the tour and were rapt to get wins on the board against quality opposition.

Mr Downing said the tournament had definitely helped the boys’ pre-season preparation and their convincing win against Scotch on Saturday in Round 1 of the PSA season. All Firsts’ team members took part in the tour except for Gerry Ansey (Year 9), who was competing in the National Under 15 Basketball Championships in Ballarat, after being selected in the WA team late last year.

This weekend Christ Church takes on Wesley at home – a winnable game for the First V says Mr Downing.