Local rivals meet on the hardwood

Published 9:48 pm Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Tru Hope Trailblazers and the Hampton Roads Cardinals will clash on Sunday in an Eastern Basketball Alliance game at Atlantic Shores Christian High School in Chesapeake.

The Eastern Basketball Alliance is a minor-league professional league with teams in Virginia, Maryland, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The EBA gives aspiring players the opportunity to showcase their skills in a highly-competitive league. EBA games are affordable, qualify family entertainment as well.

The EBA is meant to be a springboard for players who have the hope of playing in pro leagues overseas or in the NBA.

The Trailblazers are in their first season in the EBA. Last season, the Trailblazers went 12-6 against a schedule that included teams from various minor leagues, including some EBA teams.

Lakeland graduate Eric Ruffin, who then went on and played for Apprentice School in Newport News, is a point guard for Tru Hope. The Trailblazers have 11 players who played high school basketball locally along with two former University of Virginia players, Jamal Robinson and Jason Clark.

The Cardinals, who are based in Portsmouth, include Nansemond River alum Paul Walters, who plays power forward for Hampton Roads.

The Trailblazers are 3-0 and coming off a 133-95 win against the Washington Madness last Sunday. The Cardinals are 2-0 after a 98-96 win against the Virginia Wolverines last Saturday.

Sunday’s game is set for 4 p.m. Players will be available to meet with fans, take pictures and sign autographs starting at 3 p.m.

Tickets are $2 at the door for students and alumni of the high schools the Trailblazers attended; that is Lakeland, Granby, Green Run, Kellam, Churchland, Deep Creek, Maury, Salem and Princess Anne. Any adult and child attending the game can buy a ticket for two for $5. That means a family of four can enjoy the game for just $10.