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Easter basketball classic big for the Bay

The Trustpower Stadium with nine basketball courts in play

Tauranga is hosting its largest basketball event ever over the Easter weekend.  

More than 7,000 people are in town for the weekend, with 135 teams playing in the Mel Young Easter Classic.

The tournament, held across six venues, started on April 19 and will run until Monday April 22.

“It’s been going for 30 years,” says tournament director Mark Rogers. “We’ve grown to 135 teams here this weekend, from Taranaki, Hawkes Bay, and Northland. We also have five over from Australia.

“It’s huge. The focus for us is about development, so we spend a lot of energy on ref development too, with coaches over from Australia.

“This weekend is a great opportunity for the teams to play other teams they wouldn’t normally be able to play in their own region. It’s an opportunity for kids to see how others in the country are going.”

Basketball games are being played at Aquinas College, Trustpower Stadium, Tauranga Boys’ College, Tauranga Intermediate, QEYC, and Mount Sports Stadium.

This is the fifth time the annual event has been held in Tauranga.

“It’s on a three year cycle, and next year we’ll go through the bid process again to secure it for another three years,” says Mark. “It’s great for the city. And good to be able to host people here.”

Basketball Pacific's premier event, the Easter Tournament was renamed the Mel Young Easter Classic in 2016, to honour the dedication and work of Mel Young in providing opportunities for everyone involved in the basketball game. Mel forged a number of key relationships with like-minded basketball organisations, which today now give players, coaches, managers and referees opportunities to attend events such as the Koru Tour and the Jamboree in Australia.

The tournament schedule is at https://basketballpacific.com/mel-young-easter-classic-2019

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