From the 9th-12th of February 2017, a select group of student athletes were chosen to represent the school in the annual SEASAC Basketball Tournament taking place at Ruamrudee International School, Bangkok.
The team of 7, having lost 3 of their players 2 weeks before the SEASAC tournament, arrived at RIS on the 9th, set to play against one of their toughest opponents in the tournament - ISY. Despite the team being mostly comprised of younger players, with only 1 senior student, the girls started extremely well, leading the first half but suffering a tough loss of 19-25 to ISY.
Their second game against BSJ ended with a well deserved win of 39-11.
The first day ended with another devastating loss against their KL rivals, MKIS - 23-27. During the game, several players ended up at the nurses station, with intense muscle cramps or bleeding limbs. With their bench down to zero substitutions and 5 players on the court, it was a tough loss to take.
Determined to make their second day more successful, the team started off the day extremely hopeful - they had been in a similar position two years previously and came out with silver medals. Their first game of the day ended with a very triumphant victory against NIST (25-9) that would bring the team back into the running of making it to the semi-finals.
The team’s next game against GIS also ended in a 21-6 victory, making them 3rd seed in the semi-finals rankings, set to play MKIS in the semi-finals for a spot in the championship finals for first and second place.
The semi-final game was incredibly intense and very close, ending with a narrow win of 28-23. MKIS had been a formidable opponent for the girls in recent weeks as they had a 1:2 win ratio against them before SEASAC. Nevertheless, they kept their heads up and played with ferocity that lead them to the victory. Winning the semi-finals was a joyous moment and would only make the girls more determined to win the finals match in the last day of SEASAC. Although exhausted, both physically and mentally, they were set on coming out with a gold medal.
The team played ISY in the finals - one of the tallest and largest teams of the tournament. Strategically, the girls had the upperhand by drawing fouls on their larger players and getting them to team fouls early in each quarter. By playing smart and carefully, they gradually began to foul out more and more of ISY’s players, eventually fouling out 3 of their best players with 6 minutes left in the 4th quarter. The ball movement, teamwork, communication and strong defense lead them to the win by securing 6 more points due to crucial fast breaks and turnovers in the 4th quarter. The girls ended their SEASAC as the smallest team to enter the tournament with the school’s first 1st place Division II Basketball trophy (only to be broken on the way back from Bangkok), gold medals around their necks and disbelief that they had won the finals, coming home with gold medals. We can say that this small team has made history and is definitely deserving of the Team Of the Year award this year.
“Only having 7 players, I could have never imagined the outcome that we came out with that weekend. Looking around to see the other teams with the number of players that we had brought still on their bench was definitely terrifying but it just made us fight harder for the win in each game. I can, with 100% certainty, say that the girls and I gave it all we had and literally left our blood, sweat and tears on the court. As this was my last SEASAC Games, I wanted to end it strongly, but I never could have envisioned placing the way we did.
To my teammates; it has been an absolute pleasure and an honour to play alongside such incredible sportswomen. You have taught me to be humble, be passionate and be determined even when the odds weren’t in our favour. None of our successes could have been possible without your willingness to learn, your drive to execute and your ardour both on and off the court. My experience on this team is something that I will carry with me and I thank you all for letting me be your captain this last time. I am grateful for my captains before me for sharing their experiences and welcoming me into the team, something that I had hoped to achieve with all of you this season.
It has been a privilege to be part of this team and I would not have it any other way, regardless of our outcome at SEASAC.” - Joyce Tan
Click here for this week's full issue - 17th February 2017