Surrey’s entry in the Junior NBA World Championships has fallen short of its goal of getting to the big show in Orlando.
The Newton-based AthElite U14 boys basketball team lost 72-56 to Brampton Breakdown 416 in the Canada region gold-medal game, played Sunday (June 17) at Brock University in St. Catherines, Ontario.
On the line was an all-expenses-paid trip to Florida’s Walt Disney World Resort in August for a 32-team tourney backed by the NBA, in a new event modelled on baseball’s Little League World Series.
“We came out with nerves (in Sunday’s final), and missed our first eight or nine shots, and our boys got tighter as the game went on,” AthElite coach Aman Heran told the Now-Leader on Monday.
AthElite, which includes six Surrey-based players on its roster of eight, was among five teams in the round-robin tournament,
“We lost to that same Ontario team the day before by just two points, and it was a game we probably should have won,” Heran said. “On Sunday, we played in the bigger arena, and it was a different game.”
Overall, AthElite went 3-1 in the round robin before losing in the gold-medal game.
“We have tournaments in Seattle, Portland and Vegas coming up this summer, so we have some games to look forward to,” Heran added.
In St. Catherines, the tournament’s “G Award” went to AthElite guard Rav Randhawa for his outstanding play.
“He was the best player in the tournament,” Heran said of the Fleetwood Park Secondary student, who helped get the school’s junior team to the provincial finals this season.
The AthElite team also includes fellow Surrey-based players Karan Aujla, Gurjaap Sandhu, Gurek Sran, Ryson Dulapang and Andrei Verchez, along with Abbotsford’s Jaylen Lee and Burnaby’s Jimmy Zaborniak.
On the girls side of the tourney, Welland Warriors defeated Vancouver’s VK Basketball by a score of 56–53.