Grand basketball in Sale

A THOUSAND junior basketballers, plus their families, will converge on Sale this weekend for the revamped Sale Sonics Junior Basketball Tournament.

Moving the date forward to February 24 and 25 has doubled the number of junior team entries to 110.

The club expects that number to grow even further next year, with some clubs suggesting they wouldn’t come to Sale until the concrete floors were upgraded.

Sale Amateur Basketball Association president Luc Wilson thanked Catholic College Sale and Sale College for allowing the community to use their school facilities and Maffra Basketball Association for making its courts available.

Wilson said it was a great event to pull the community together and showcase the town.

“It’s been a huge couple of weeks for our volunteers trying to organise such a large event — but the association knows how much local Sale basketballers enjoy the opportunity to host their own tournament,” he said.

“We’re delighted the tournament has grown in size, but it’s meant we can no longer fit at the Gippsland Regional Sports Complex.

“We only have four courts there, so we are also utilising Bishop Phelan Stadium, the Macalister and Guthridge campus’ of Sale College and we’re working with Maffra to use their courts as well.

“It’s really at the point where we could do with an extra couple of courts at the shire’s main regional complex, not only for the tournament but also to accommodate our weekly competition and junior skills sessions.

“Junior basketball is going well in our region and across Gippsland and we’re well placed to try and get more events into Sale.”

The event will bring several thousand people into Sale for two consecutive days to support local business and eat out in local restaurants.

The tournament will be played across 10 Wellington Shire stadiums from 8am Saturday and 8am Sunday. Finals will be played Sunday night.

Tournament entry is free for spectators.