Fired-up La Salle end long title wait
Many basketball supporters were queuing up outside Southorn Stadium, in Wan Chai, for more than an hour last Friday evening. They were waiting for the Inter-School (Division One, Kowloon) boys' basketball final between frequent rivals La Salle College and Ying Wa College.
And the 2,000-strong, sell-out crowd were not disappointed, as La Salle won a thrilling contest 51-48 to end a 14-year wait for an A-grade title.
The match started promptly at 8.30pm and a fired-up La Salle quickly pulled clear to lead 17-10 at the end of the first period.
Frederick Lo Kit-long, 17, La Salle's inspirational point guard, showed great confidence and accuracy with his three-point shooting.
Yet Ying Wa kept trying to close the gap and cut the deficit to only four points, with La Salle leading 34-30 at the end of the third period.
Arthur Ko Yuk-hang, 18, Ying Wa's captain and point guard, produced an incredible second-half performance to help his team to draw level and even take the lead - 38-36 - in the fourth period. But La Salle were not to be denied victory.
Nerves began to get the better of Ying Wa's players, as they tried to protect their lead.
They started to commit a number of fouls. This gave La Salle a chance to score some penalty shots and reclaim the lead just before the end of the match.
La Salle celebrated their victory with everyone jumping for joy and cheering after finally capturing their long-awaited title.
All of the players took part in a team hug on the court and then sang the school song, together with their supporters in the stand.
Frederick said the team's strategy had paid off - to start playing at a very fast pace so that they could build an early lead.
'Before I stepped onto the court, I told myself that my team were going to end up as the winners,' the Form Six student said.
'Even after our opponents had levelled the score and led by two points at one stage, my belief in us didn't change.'
The appreciative crowd gave a huge roar of approval for the fighting spirit of the Ying Wa team.
Arthur, who is a Form Seven student, was disappointed, but said his team would bounce back from their defeat.
'To some extent, the loss may benefit our team's future development. We will increase our efforts in training before we defend our title at the Jing Ying tournament.'
The competition takes place at ORS Memorial Sports Centre, in Kwai Hing, from December 19 to 24.