Sale Amateur Basketball Association A grade leader Flamingos to play Little Apples All Stars

Local bragging rights will be up for grabs tonight when the best players from the Sale Amateur Basketball Association (the Flamingos) and the breakaway Little Apples League face off. Pictured are Luke Williams and Andrew Quirk.
Local bragging rights will be up for grabs tonight when the best players from the Sale Amateur Basketball Association (the Flamingos) and the breakaway Little Apples League face off. Pictured are Luke Williams and Andrew Quirk.

A GROUP of local basketball lovers who formed their own league after breaking away from the Sale Amateur Basketball Association will be gunning to prove their worth in an exhibition match on Friday night.

The match will pit the currently unbeaten team from the SABA A grade men's competition, the Flamingos, against an all-star line-up from new kid on the block, the Little Apples Basketball League.

The idea to host the match stemmed after discussions brewed between the two camps about who played in a superior competition.

Little Apples vice-president Cameron Churchill said the game would be a good showcase of local talent.

"The rivalry is huge between SABA and Little Apples because we took a few of their players," he said.

"There's been less and less people playing over there now [at SABA] because they're playing with us.

"We're all still mates with the Flamingos boys, but the game will be heated because there's a lot of pride involved.

"It's not going to be dirty, it's going to be good fun and good natured."

As Churchill explained, the Little Apples Basketball League was formed as a spin off from the Little Apples basketball team which played in the SABA competition.

"In 2014, we had a group of guys just packing fruit at Woolies and we thought we'd make a basketball team," he said.

"We didn't know what to call ourselves, we were all pretty tall and packing fruit so we thought 'little apples' worked as a bit of an ironic play on words.

"For a couple of seasons we were playing at SABA and more people wanted to come and play with us to have a bit of fun, we had a bit of a social media presence and eventually had enough to field three teams.

"But it got to the stage last year where we were making up three of the seven teams in the SABA competition so we decided we'd just start our own league and have fun doing it by ourselves."

The Little Apples Basketball League has taken off in the past 12 months, with five teams now competing.

The league ensures competitive balance by holding a draft every season, with every player assigned to a team.

"Because there's new teams every year there's no animosity," Churchill said.

Churchill said the Little Apples league had attracted players new to the game.

"We have guys like Andrew Quirk and Hudson Holmes playing who are top CBL players on the same teams as people who have never even touched a basketball, so to have guys like that helping them [the new players] is great and inclusive," he said.

Tonight's match between the Flamingos and the Little Apples All-Stars will be played at the Gippsland Regional Sports Complex from 6.30pm.

Spectators will be asked to provide a gold coin to enter the arena, with all proceeds going to men's health organisation Movember.

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