The 2017 Horsham Junior Classic returns this weekend

PREPARATION: Under-16s player Hugh Taylor training ahead of the annual Horsham Junior Classic. Picture: STUART McGUCKIN

PREPARATION: Under-16s player Hugh Taylor training ahead of the annual Horsham Junior Classic. Picture: STUART McGUCKIN

THE 2017 Horsham Junior Classic returns to the city at the weekend. 

More than 70 teams from around Victoria have registered for the tournament, bringing hundreds of families to Horsham and its surrounding towns. 

Junior Representative Director from the Horsham Amateur Basketball Association Tony Sleep said he was looking forward to a big weekend of basketball. 

“We have in total over 500 players playing on the weekend, which is exciting,” he said. 

Teams will be travelling from as far as Mildura and Colac for the tournament, mixing with teams for local towns including Warracknabeal and Ararat. 

“For sides like Mildura and Colac to drive here says enough about the product we are offering. The Horsham Classic has always been well received,” Sleep said.

There will also be a number of sides from Horsham competing across the age groups. 

“We’ve got 12 Horsham representative sides, which is more than we’ve had in recent years,” Sleep said. 

“For the first time ever we’ve got three Horsham teams in our under-14 boys age group. It’s terrific to have those sorts of numbers.”

Sleep expects the under-16 Horsham boys team to perform well, and will certainly be a team to watch over the weekend.

“The Horsham under-16 boys [carry] a high-level of expectation. If I was coming along as a spectator, the under-16 Horsham boys would be one I would watch for sure,” Sleep said.

The tournament will be using seven courts from around Horsham. On Saturday, some teams will also be travelling to Dimboola.

“It’s terrific we can partner up with Dimboola for the tournament,” Sleep said.

Sleep is confident the tournament will cause a buzz in and around Horsham, providing an economic boost to the area.

“Being a junior tournament, a lot of families will be travelling to the region. It will inject a lot of dollars into the area with meals, accommodation and shopping over the course of the weekend,” Sleep said.

“It will certainly bring a lot of interest to the town.”

Sleep said the tournament would not be possible without the dedicated parents and volunteers working to make sure the weekend goes as planned. 

“We’ve got some terrific new parents and volunteers only too willing to help out behind the scenes,” he said.

“[Organising a home tournament] is hard work, you rarely get the chance to sit back and relax, but the group we have had behind us in terms of our parent groups have been terrific.”

Games will start at 8am on Saturday morning, with the last grand finals expected to commence at 5pm on Sunday evening. 

“We want as many people down there cheering on our Horsham teams. If you’ve got an interest in basketball it will be worth coming down and seeing how competitive some of these games will be,” Sleep said.