Local coach leads team to title in British Masters Championship

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 26, 2017

Randy Smith and his team have already proved successful at the British Masters Championships, having clinched basketball titles in half of their previous 14 appearances.

You can add title No. 8 to the list.

Smith’s team knocked off Ireland 45-22 in the championship game played in Manchester, England on June 18.

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The former Cathedral High School girls basketball coach said his team led 24-20 at the half before pulling away in the final two quarters.

“We rotated five in and five out all game, and in the second half we just played real well and held them,” Smith said. “The other teams couldn’t keep up with us.”

The British Masters Championship is an annual basketball tournament played in Europe each summer. This year, Smith’s group played in the 60s division. Other divisions include men’s 40s and 50s and women’s 35s and 40s.

Smith’s team is comprised of 10 men spread from across the U.S.

Vidalia boys head basketball coach Robert Sanders also serves as a coach and player on the team.

“We always get there two to three days in advance and set up plays and practices,”
Smith said. “It’s been fun, and we’ve had a good time doing it.”

Smith said his team averaged 45 points per game in the two-day tournament while yielding just 20 points per contest.

“We’re probably the only team that throws in plays,” he said. “We just play well together. We play basketball. We don’t have anyone that dominates, we have good people all around.”

Despite a plethora of tournament titles in tow, Smith said this year’s championship is a little more special than others after tournament organizer Bill McInness died earlier this year.

“They named the trophy after him,” Smith said

Smith said while he was pleased with his team’s efforts, winning isn’t necessarily the ultimate goal.

“It’s really about promoting basketball in the UK and showing the younger guys that basketball can be a big sport there,” he said. “They’re trying to build it up. They’re having more youth tournaments and doing more for the sport.”