Winning more than just points
Starting on November 18, Hong Kong International School hosted the 47th Holiday Basketball Tournament. The annual competition involves seven schools from across East Asia: American School of Bangkok (Thailand), American School in Japan, St Mary’s International School (Japan), Singapore American School (Japan), Taipei American School (Taiwan), and Hong Kong’s Belilios Public School and Hong Kong International School.
After three days of intense competition, the championship was awarded to the American School of Bangkok’s girls’ team and Singapore American School’s boys’ team.
The first day of competition was a regular school day, yet the stands were packed with students and teachers, as well as families from visiting schools.
“I personally love a crowd – doesn’t matter which team they’re on. And there was such a huge crowd watching us,” says Net Mongkongpru, from the American School Bangkok girls’ team.
“It was so much fun,” adds Kristel Fung, an 11th grade HKIS student. “Everyone was screaming and there was so much energy in the bleachers. I didn’t expect so many Lower Primary kids to be there. An entire bleacher was just filled with them chanting ‘Let’s go Dragons [HKIS team], let’s go!’”
Despite the highly-amped competitive atmosphere, the players maintained positive, friendly vibes. “People here have better sportsmanship than people we usually play with,” comments San Huang, from the American School of Bangkok girls’ team.
“Back in Thailand, teams were always fouling. People here play a lot more civilly!”
“Overall it went really well – the kids were well behaved, and of a really good skill level,” says HKIS Athletic Director Sharon Leung.
“It’s good to have the tournament early on in the season, so you’d be able to gauge where your level of playing is before going into more major competitions back at home.”
The second day of the tournament passed with equal intensity. Despite the fact that it was a school holiday, a crowd of students, parents, and teachers still came to watch and cheer. That night, players from out of town returned to their host families exhausted, but still hyped for the final matches.
However, none of the players were focused only on scoring points.
“This tournament is also about building friendships,” says Jaelen Coney from Singapore American School.
“We all have a lot in common besides the competition, and ... the tournament is a great opportunity to meet new people and build friendships worldwide.”
“The Holiday Basketball Tournament also gives our team a good idea of what we need to focus on,” Jaelen adds, “and it challenges the depth of our team and how bad you want to win, how hard you push, how well people will step up to win.”
While all the teams are “in it to win it”, the tournament also boosts energy and enthusiasm for future games.
Myles Gillespie, from Singapore American School says: “I’m really happy that we did end up winning the tournament, but I’m also looking forward to the rest of the season.
“We played against a bunch of great teams here, and I’m excited to play against them in future tournaments.”
“I think this year the teams were extremely balanced,” says Leung. “All the games for both boys and girls were very close. Everybody went into the final day with a chance of winning.”
The final results:
- Boys’ Division:
1st place: Singapore American School
2nd place: St Mary’s International School
3rd place: American School in Japan
4th place: Taipei American School
5th place: American School of Bangkok
6th place: Hong Kong International School
- Girls’ Division:
1st place: American School of Bangkok
2nd place: Taipei American School
3rd place: Hong Kong International School
4th place: American School in Japan
5th place: Singapore American School
6th place: Belilios Public School