Whiteley Warriors have multiple reasons to celebrate the 23/24 season

In the heart of Hampshire, the Whiteley Warriors Basketball Club has wrapped up yet another phenomenal year, punctuated with triumphs and heart warming stories that resonate far beyond the courts.

The club's roster now boasts over 300 players, including a staggering 250 juniors, solidifying its position as a powerhouse in the local basketball scene.

The crown jewel of their achievements this year belongs to the U12s team, who clinched the Solent Area Basketball Association Central Venue League title in a dazzling display of skill and resilience, remaining undefeated throughout their campaign.

Club director Gareth Birkett says that families rallied together to support the team and raise funds for Sophie's Legacy, a charity close to the club's heart.

Sophie's Legacy was created in memorial of Sophie Fairall, who passed away at the age of 10 to a rare form of childhood cancer.

In a touching gesture, the U12s had their jerseys adorned with the emblem of Sophie - a yellow ribbon - to raise awareness and in a poignant tribute, they dedicated the number 12 jersey to her memory, a gesture cherished by her mother, Charlotte.

Guiding the U12s to glory was head coach Guy Wilcox, whose adept mentorship marks his second consecutive year of steering an U12s team to league victory. 

Meanwhile, the U16s squad, under the tutelage of Lianne Alexandra Miller, illuminated the courts with their prowess, finishing as runners-up in the league behind Solent Kestrels.

Miller's connection to the club runs deep, as the daughter of a founding member of the original Whiteley Oaks Team, adding a layer of heritage to the club's narrative.

Whiteley Warriors' U12s on finals day

Dedication and excellence

The dynamic duo at the helm, club directors Gareth Birkett and John Wilkins, epitomise the spirit of dedication and excellence that pervades the Whiteley Warriors.

Birkett's recent accolade as Basketball England's Children Coach of the Year for the South Region is a testament to his unwavering commitment to nurturing young talent.

On a global stage, Wilkins was selected as captain of the GB Masters 35+ team, underscoring his prowess and leadership both on and off the court, as he prepares to represent his country in Italy this summer, carrying the Whiteley Warriors' legacy with pride.

Warriors' Coach John Wilkins is heading to Italy to represent GB in a masters' tournament

Philanthropic gesture

The club has also been championing community engagement through their 'Hoopz 4 Skoolz' initiative.

Spearheading this endeavor, the club, along with sister club Outlet Basketball, has embarked on a mission to provide local schools with access to basketball, enriching the lives of countless youngsters.

Through the initiative, the club has generously donated hoops and balls to four local junior and primary schools, an investment exceeding £3,500.

This philanthropic gesture not only equips schools with the necessary resources to introduce and develop basketball programmes but also serves as a catalyst for nurturing the next generation of hoop enthusiasts. 

Moreover, the club's reach extends beyond the confines of Whiteley, with the establishment of the Gosport Gunners.

Boasting nearly 100 members, the Gunners are poised to follow in the footsteps of their Whiteley counterparts, embodying the same ethos of excellence, camaraderie, and community engagement.

In yet another milestone,  Andrew Bradshaw, whose dedication and expertise have earned him the authorisation from Sports Structures to conduct coaching award certificates for Level 1 and Level 2. This prestigious achievement not only highlights Bradshaw's commitment to the sport but also positions the club as a beacon of basketball education and development in the Hampshire region.

Director Birkett said:

"With Bradshaw at the helm, the club is poised to extend its influence beyond the confines of its own roster, as it embarks on a mission to assist other local clubs in and around Hampshire.

"By offering local courses, the Whiteley Warriors aim to empower individuals eager to embark on their coaching journey, providing them with the necessary tools and knowledge to nurture talent and contribute to the basketball infrastructure in the region.

"This commendable initiative underscores the club's unwavering commitment to fostering growth and excellence in basketball, not only within its own ranks but also within the broader community.

"As Andrew Bradshaw and the Whiteley Warriors pave the way for a new generation of coaches, their collective impact will undoubtedly resonate far beyond the courts, shaping the future of the sport for years to come.

"Congratulations to Andrew Bradshaw and the Whiteley Warriors on this significant accomplishment, as they continue to inspire and elevate the basketball landscape in Hampshire and beyond."