The Three Kings reigned supreme winning both the Junior and Adult 3×3 Wheelchair Basketball competitions as teams with representation from across the UK competed at the Ball Out 3×3 National Tour event in Leeds.
The BWB sanctioned event – organised by Ball Out 3×3 – was the first Wheelchair Basketball event to be held in the UK since before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Buoyed by the return of competition and the electric atmosphere inside Leeds Carnegie Sports Centre, the four junior teams were first to take to the courts, going head-to-head in the pool stage.
As competitors from the basketball competitions being held at the event on the same day watched on, the Ball Out 3×3 event provided the perfect stage for the exciting new format of 3×3 with the teams showcasing the fast-paced and thrilling nature of 3×3.
The Three Kings, Dragons, Hot Shots and the Little Welsh Ladies all played their part in creating a superb competition, but it was The Three Kings who topped the standings at the end of the pool stage, winning all three of their round-robin games.
3×3 is a sport of fine margins with games often decided by late drama and the second final spot was decided by a single point with Dragons’ one point victory (10-9) over Hot Shots in the opening game the deciding factor in setting-up The Three Kings v Dragons final.
Only two points separated the pair when the two teams met in the group game, and the final proved to be just as competitive. Both teams gave it their all, but it was The Three Kings who had the edge and maintained their 100 per cent winning record, beating Dragons 10-7 in the Junior final.
The Three Kings were back in action in the Adult competition during the afternoon session, with the 10 Adult teams split into two pools of five. The Three Kings were one of three teams to win three of their four pool games in Pool A, with Rule of 3 and Fire Dragons also only being defeated once. The Three Kings topped the standings on points difference which saw the players from Thames Valley Kings advance through to their second final of the day.
It was also an extremely competitive series of round-robin games in Pool B with the second final spot not confirmed until the final game of the pool stage. Heading into the final round of Pool B fixtures, four teams (99 Problems and a Swish Ain’t One, Whirlwinds, Tartan Terrors and 3 of a Kind) could have clinched a place in the final.
But it came down to the final game with Whirlwinds beating Celts Cymru 12-7 to book their place in the final ahead of Tartan Terrors on points difference.
The Adult final proved to be another thrilling spectacle with only one point separating the two teams at the end of a brilliant 10 minutes of action. As the final buzzer sounded, it was double delight for The Three Kings as they added the Adult trophy to their Junior title thanks to a 6-5 victory over Whirlwinds.
Pool B runners-up Tartan Terrors beat Rule of 3, who were second in Pool A, in the 3rd/4th play-off game.
BWB’s Participation Director Jo Richards was at the event and was delighted to be back courtside:
“It’s been a long wait for everyone involved in the sport to see competitive Wheelchair Basketball return so it’s been fantastic to be courtside again, seeing teams going head-to head, but, most importantly, seeing players back enjoying the sport they love.
“We’ve got to say a huge thank you to Ball Out 3×3 for being amazing hosts as it’s been a brilliant event and also special thanks to all the officials, coaches, support staff and players who have made today happen.”
Junior teams: The Three Kings, Dragons, Hot Shots, Little Welsh Ladies
Adult Teams: The Three Kings, Whirlwinds, Tartan Terrors, Rule of 3, 99 Problems and a Swish Ain’t One, Red Dragons, Ice Dragons, Fire Dragons, 3 of a Kind, Celts Cymru