Caprock Classic: Team competes after 22 hour bus ride, cancelled flights

Published: Dec. 28, 2022 at 7:07 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - More than 100 high school basketball teams from around the world traveled to Lubbock for the 63rd annual Caprock Classic Tournament.

Over the past six decades the Caprock Classic basketball tournament has grown to be the largest in the world.

Tournament director Gary Johnson says it started as the brainchild of former Texas Tech head basketball coach Polk Robison and became a partnership with Caprock Ambucs.

“He said, man this will benefit a lot of people, and it does,” Johnson said.

All the proceeds from the tournament go toward helping individuals struggling with mobility independence.

Johnson says Ambucs will give out nearly a dozen Amtrykes during the tournament, along with other charitable donations.

“Our club also builds wheelchair ramps,” Johnson said. “We provide eight scholarships to players in the tournament. They submit an application for review, thousand dollar scholarship to any school of higher education that they want to go to.

For one international team, making tip-off was the first victory.

The Diamond Valley Eagles spent hours in the air from Australia to Los Angeles only to find their flight to Texas canceled as part of the mass cancelations by Southwest Airlines.

“We spent six hour in the airport trying to figure out what we were going to do,” Eagle’s Head Coach David Quinn said.

After a night in an L.A. hotel, the team was able to charter a bus for the 22-hour trip from to Lubbock.

“We arrived this morning at 9:30 after 22 hours on a bus,” Quinn said. “So our players are pretty exhausted most of them haven’t slept.”

Eagle’s woman’s Head Coach Ash Boek says it was a process getting everybody to Lubbock to compete.

“50 combined adults, athletes, and coaches stranded at LAX airport for like six hours was quite stressful,” Boek said. “The killer was really our 22-hour bus ride to Lubbock.”

The players did their best to deal with the new circumstances.

“It was painful,” Eagles guard Lachoan Attard said. “I was cramping, everybody was cramping, nobody could sleep, we’re all like exhausted.”

Emily Webb, who plays on the woman’s team, said the hardest part was getting rested before the tournament.

“Yeah it was hard to sleep,” Webb said. “It was uncomfortable. I don’t think anyone got much sleep, but we’re here now. It was a long journey.”

Still, the two young players say the team made the best of their cross country trip.

“It was a good experience,” Attard said. “We got to see the countryside of the USA, something we probably won’t ever experience again.”

Webb the experience also helped bring the team closer together.

“Before this none of us had met each other,” Webb said. “We trained but we didn’t really know each other, so it was good for us as a team bonding kind of thing.”

Johnson with Ambucs says he’s happy to see players on the court and support for the club’s initiative.

“We’re basically in the business to take money and to give money,” Johnson said. “Our job is not to keep a bank balance, it’s to give money to what missions we have in our club - inspiring mobility.”

The Caprock Classic runs from Dec. 29 through Dec. 31 at gyms across Lubbock County.