Winning every game by a margin greater than 30 points, the Phoenix girls marched to victory without seeming to truly test their full capacity. That came in the week preceding SEASAC, where they played ACSIS champions, Singapore American School (SAS)—more to come later on that heart-stopping game.
During SEASAC, girls passed through the group stages with a perfect record, brushing aside all without contest. Surprisingly, the team that (on points) seemingly pushed them closest, finished last. The girls went on to the final, and won it by a staggering margin of 69 points over local rivals Tanglin Trust School.
Undoubted champions of South East Asia…or are they?
When talking about Basketball it is impossible to not mention the country where its best athletes originate from, and are most revered. America. And one doesn’t need to look further than local rivals SAS. Their U19 boys team is deemed too good to play in the U19 ACSIS league, so they send their younger team. However the girls team is an entirely different story.
The U19 Phoenix Girls team went to SAS and lost by a margin of 11 points. It was the return leg that drew the most attention. However, due to scheduling, many spectators missed the ensuing excitement in favour of watching the Boys slightly less exciting win.
The Girls game began with a lack of excitement and points, as the first couple of minutes passed without a bucket. Unfortunately when it came, it was SAS scoring, taking an early lead they were to maintain throughout the game. The Phoenix Girls pushed them close but the Eagles extended their lead through the next quarter. UWCSEA Dover pressed their opponents, attempting to win the ball back quickly and counter. Even though SAS was a quality team, they found it difficult to break the press.
It was thrilling: the high-paced game turned aggressive and passionate. No second ball was left to chance. By the time the game reached the fourth quarter, the margin was merely 2 points courtesy to successive threes from Phoenix Captain Ally Fisher. Phoenix were on the rise and the Eagles were reeling. The crowd was raucous, passion flowed freely from both the crowds and the players. And it created a wave that the players rode to the final whistle. All they needed was for someone to step up. And two came to the rescue. The ever present and ever brilliant Captain Ally Fisher accompanied by the youngest player on the team, Caitlin Pawley, stepped up. The SEASAC debutant scored 4 points, clawing SAS back with the first 2 and creating a lead with the next 2. Ally Fisher then hit a flawless three pointer to extend the lead to 5 points. The crowd were wild, uncontrollable, and understandably so. Coaches, players and fans could not hide their bursting emotions as the girls progressed closer to a fantastic win.
A thrilling game was eventually won by 5 point margin over the title rivals but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to present the girls with the ACSIS title as SAS still edged it on the head to head margin (only 6 points!).
However we can’t let one thing take away anything from another fantastic year from the girls team who were coached by the ever enthusiastic and ever present Coach Nestor who will no doubt be proud of his team’s achievement at SEASAC and ACSIS.