Aword of advice, it’s probably best not to bet against the Harlem Crowns when they play the Belmont Bulldogs next week, no matter how much you think the Bulldogs are due.
The Crowns are a Harlem Globetrotters-type exhibition team known for their trick moves and hilarious shows. They play high school teams to help them raise money and will be taking on the senior boys Bulldogs on Thursday, Oct. 25.
The event is a fundraiser for the team, to help cover travel expenses, referees and other costs.
Co-coach Kevin Brown said you can expect to see a lot of fancy passing and dribbling, some incredible alley-oops and a lot of harassment of the ref, a Crowns staple. He said the Bulldogs have some competitive spirit in them too and despite it being for fun will probably try to get some shots in.
“They go out and know that it’s not really a super competitive game,” Brown said. “I know these guys and their going to try to score either way.”
Two years ago current team captain Kane Johnston, Grade 12, watched the Bulldogs and the Crowns before he played for the senior team. He said it was great to watch and he looks forward to “getting embarrassed” this year.
“It’ll be a great opportunity,” Johnston said.
The Crowns have been playing since the mid-1950s and were started by a former Harlem Globetrotter. Players are picked for skill as well as showmanship, and all have former college basketball experience.
The game is good for the team, said co-coach Tom Holmes, because the players get to play in front of a large crowd and get to play against some talented players, even if it is all just for fun.
“It’s not hardcore basketball,” Holmes said. “It’s all the tricks they put in and all the showmanship. They don’t really go by the rules… It’s great family entertainment so hopefully we’ll get a full house.”
The Belmont Bulldogs senior boy’s team will be tipping off against the Crowns at 7 p.m. The match will take place at Dunsmuir middle school because the gym there has a higher capacity. Tickets are $10 and available at Belmont secondary school, Dunsmuir or from players on the team.
Both coaches said the senior boys team is looking good so far and has a solid core of about six returning players that will lead the group. Holmes said you can often tell at the beginning of the season if the team will likely make provincials, and he said this year’s team has a strong chance.
“We’ll be very competitive,” Holmes said. “Come playoff time, if we stay healthy, we should be in the thick of things, for sure.”
The opening game for the Bulldogs is Nov. 28.