Team Saskatoon lost to Ljubljana in the final of the FIBA 3X3 World Tour Basketball event in Saskatoon.
The Saskatoon quartet of Michael Linklater, Michael Lieffers, Nolan Brudehl and Steve Sir came within one win of capturing the FIBA World Tour Masters championship in downtown Saskatoon. The locals fell behind early and battled back to keep the game close until Ljubljana Slovenia pulled away late and captured the 21-14 victory in the final when Lieffers was called for goaltending.
The call drew boos from the packed grandstand crowd and Lieffers questioned the referee's decision, but you can't challenge a goaltending call. The point stood and the visitors claimed the title and with it the $20,000 first prize. Team Saskatoon shared the runner-up portion of $10,000.
Lieffers said winning the championship would have topped off the tournament in front of the large home town crowd, but felt it was a terrific event.
"Saskatoon Tourism put on an amazing tournament, a world class event among all the tournaments (3-X-30), it's definitely in the top three," said Lieffers who was thankful for the support of the local fans.
"it means a lot to us, to have all those people come out and watch us and see what we've been doing for the past five years, an incredible, incredible sport."
The winner of the $2,000 slam dunk title was Justin Darlington who nailed the victory with a cart-wheel manovre.
Orangizers estimate about 4,000 fans took in Saturday's action and a crowd of roughly 6,000 were on hand Sunday. The tournament will return to saskatoon in 2018 and 2019.