Girls fall at final hurdle
The Hong Kong girls' team came within one victory of clinching the fourth Asian Schools Basketball Championships held in Vietnam from August 23 to September 1.
But their title dreams were dashed by China who won a one-sided final, 80-54.
Hong Kong beat Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Sri Lanka on their way to the championship clash.
'When we first saw the schedule, we were a bit worried,' said the girls' head coach, Lui Sheung-hung.
'Although we were not in the same group with China - the strongest team in the competition - we had to face tough opponents in the preliminary matches.'
Lui said Hong Kong got off to a flying start by crushing Thailand 76-60 in their first match.
'That victory gave a huge boost to our confidence,' he said.
The girls were not stressed ahead of their game against China, Lui said.
'We understood that we could not beat China. There was no burden so I gave every girl, including the backups, a chance to play in the final. This helped them gain more international experience,' Lui explained.
The boys' squad also did well, before being hammered by eventual champions China, 61-91, in the semi-finals.
In the preliminary round, Hong Kong defeated India, Macau and Singapore but lost to Thailand. They were second in their group so they faced China - the best team in the other pool - in the last four.
'There was great discipline within the team. They tried
their best in every match,' said Stephen Lee Kai-mou, senior sports executive of the Hong Kong Schools Sports Federation (HKSSF).
Boys' head coach, Shih Wei-chung, said the team had fulfilled his expectations by clinching a semi-final berth.
With both their boys' and girls' teams winning all their matches comfortably, China showed they were well ahead of their regional rivals.
In the boys' final, the mainlanders defeated Malaysia 85-48.