Ballers Heaven’s Warwickshire Warriors U18s National Basketball League Men’s Team was only formed 12 months ago by the Paynes.
After years of helping talented Brits realise their dreams by opening pathways to the States, they decided to form a base in the UK.
The goal was not just to compete, but to put a formidable youth programme together that would push for honours.
In one of the most highly anticipated local rivalries, Warwickshire Warriors put the league on notice early, when they handed league favourites Coventry Elite a 27-point drubbing fresh out the gate to start the season.
The run continued until they met an in-form Wolverhampton SLAM in November, who put a halt to this juggernaut of a team. Warriors lost by 11 and had some soul searching to do. The loss hurt and it would be motivation for the remainder of the season to suffer no more losses.
The Warriors stepped up the intensity and set their sights on the league championship. In their last game of the 2021-22 season, the Warriors faced their only victor, knowing a 12 point win would be their only chance to seal their fate.
It was put to bed in the final seconds of the game. Aided by stellar play at the guard positions, following a timeout with 10 seconds remaining, Aaron Atwal put his 18th and 19th points on the board to push the lead to 12 and secure the league win!
Coaches Roger and Bryce Payne said: “To see such a young group of guys gel in such a short time, throughout two years of disruptions, and win a league title in their first year is just phenomenal to us. We will be sending some of this unit to live out their dreams in the US this summer, so we will continue to develop and recruit for our 2022-23 season and look to repeat upon this success. For now… more hard work.”