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A Good Game!

April, 2006
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  Fresh off the basketball court, Megan Ortwein seemed to have completely forgotten about her injured ankle and bowled her heart out with  opponents and friends at a celebratory party.

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  Just hours ago, her team, the Shanghai American School, won the championship at the ACAMIS (Association of China and Mongolia International Schools) Basketball Tournament. But more importantly, Megan also won a good friend, Jade Demnar from the Beijing BISS International School (BISS) while she was hosted at Jade’s home.

  “We are sticking together now, and we share a lot in personalities. We both eat a lot of food, and the same food,” Megan chuckled.

   “We put on the TV one night and we both like the same shows,” added Jade. “We all like having her, and we will be sad as she is leaving tomorrow.”

  In fact, it is a tradition of ACAMIS tournaments that host schools not only host the tournament, but also host players from other guest schools. For this basketball tournament, students from the Shanghai American School, Shanghai Community International Schools, Xiamen International School, and the Utahloy International School Guangzhou all stayed with BISS students at their homes for three days.

  “It is a great way to form friendships,” commented Deidve Fischer, the upper school principal of BISS.

  BISS has hosted other tournaments before, however this is their first time to host a basketball tournament. As the campus is not big enough, the games were actually held at the facilities of the Western Academy of Beijing (WAB). IMG_9440

  As the host team, both the BISS girls’ and boys’ teams played very hard, and faced some emotional games. In particular, the girls lost to Xiamen International School by one point, tied with Western Academy of Beijing, only to lose overtime. Finally they came fifth in the competition.

  “They tried hard and came home battered and bruised. They are building the foundations for a successful side in the next few years through the tournament,” said Anthony Norman, coach for the BISS girls.

  The Xiamen girls’ team is seen as the best disciplined. However, they lost to the Western Academy of Beijing, Shanghai American School (SAS) and Shanghai City International Schools (SCIS).

  “It was pretty tough for our pretty young team, with half of the team never playing basketball before,” said Tricia, the Xiamen coach. “They stayed very positive through the tournament, however.” IMG_0180

  It is interesting that the girls’ final was between two teams from Shanghai: the Shanghai American School (SAS) and the Shanghai City International Schools (SCIS), as they are actually hometown rivals back in Shanghai and played each other quite a few times already.

   It was the SAS team that came out on top this time around.

  “They played great defense, they shared the ball and passed it around. They just came as a team at the right time,” said Dan Machacek, the  SAS coach. “Defense is more important than offence in the competition. Our strength is our defense, we’ve got a lot of turnovers and steals and we converted those into baskets.”

  What made Machacek feel most proud of his team was that the girls are all 9th and 10th graders, making them the youngest team in the tournament.

  “This is actually the first year we had a high school, and they have only practiced for four months.”IMG_0196

  On the other side, the loss did bring some SCIS girls to tears, but their coach comforted them peacefully in the corner of the court.

   “I told them I am proud of them, and they should be proud of how much they have improved throughout the season and second place is something that we should feel good about. We did the best we could do. Even though you want to win the game so much, you should not feel sad about your efforts.”

  On a rough stroke of bad luck, the SCIS boys’ team lost to the Western Academy of Beijing in the final game, where they carried the lead all the way to the last few seconds.

  “We lost the game probably because of experience,” concluded coach Kyle Percy. “They came down to the last second where we had one or two points separating us and they just need to learn how to finish the game.”

  “We played strong competition and played good basketball, which is great.”

  Mike Callero, the coach for the WAB boys saw their winning a victory of “the power of united nations”.  IMG_9887

  “The ten kids in my team are from ten different countries in the world, actually. I know they have that potential, they did what they could and they wanted it (the championship) in their heart.”

  Another decisive factor was the tall centre on the WAB team, who got quite a few rebounds and nice shots.

  “That helps, a lot. We still fell several points behind the SCIS Eagles in the beginning of the second half. I asked the young players to put pressure on their opponents, play defense harder and let their big kids move faster.

  “Probably the most important thing was to encourage the boys to work harder, instead of giving up because kids always need to be reminded to have it in their minds and hearts to work as hard as they can. In the end, they will be ‘hungry’ for it.”

  The Utahloy boys came in third while their girls lost all their games. Despite the loses, they said they still had a very good experience.

  “It is fun to watch, to play, and to just shoot around,” a player remarked.

 By Xing Yangjian

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