“Pain is temporary, victory is forever”
Captain Emily looked around the gym on the first day of practice and realized she was all alone. The 2010-11 SIS Girls Basketball team would be made up of brand new players and brand new coaches. With so many new faces, Coach Mark McElroy and Coach Brian Tuia had to get to work immediately. There first tasks was to figure out individual strengths, developing a team identity, and cultivating confidence among the team. Fortunately for these Coaches, the new players were highly motivated to listen, work hard, and play together to form a unit ready to take on any and all opponents.
The SIS Lady Geckos headed to the ACAMIS tournament this past weekend coming off a strong 2nd place performance the weekend before, in the Pearl River Delta tournament. As the team lined up for their first game against TEDA they would be faced with a serious handicap. Captains Sofi and Emily were unable to play in the first game leaving the girls in serious need of help. Fortuitously the absence of Sofi and Emily allowed for freshman Maddy , Jennifer , and Jamison to take on leadership roles while gaining valuable pressured experience. Reserve players Barbie and Maddie stepped up providing the extra efforts the Geckos would needed to get past TEDA.
The next day of competition was one that would challenge the toughness and desire of the Lady Geckos. The Lady Geckos were back to a full roster and they would need it given that they were scheduled to play 4 games in one day. The Girls went on to have a solid win against ISQ to start the day. The Geckos were led on offense with strong perimeter play from Maddy, Emily, and Sofi cruising to solid a solid victory.
The Lady Geckos had their hands full when they squared off against the defending champion BISS team. It would take a full team effort as BISS wasn’t ready to go down without a fight. The lady geckos begged coaches to allow them to press their opponents covering the entire court. Coaches allowed their passionate team to set the tone of the game running their press for a majority of the game. BISS would prove to be a formidable opponent with a solid height advantage. However, the fierce intensity of Maria , Jeffiner, and Jamison underneath the hoop allowed for the Geckos to stay close as the game went down to the wire. In the end the Lady Geckos held on to a one point victory.
SIS ran into trouble when they faced the hosts of the tournament XIS. XIS heated up early from the outside and held the lead early on in the game. The Lady Geckos adjusted their defense to key in on XIS shooters as they clawed back within striking distance. The Lady Geckos showed their toughness as they didn’t give up until the final buzzer sounded. Unfortunately, the girls ended up on the losing end of this tight game. SIS knew that they would most likely get a second chance to face XIS in the playoffs the next day and next time they’d be ready.
With physical play. Referees started handing out technical fouls as XIS girls tried to turn the game into something resembling more of a wrestling match than a basketball game. Their poise and toughness carried the ladies to victory and an opportunity to advance to the championship game against the defending champion BISS.
From the opening tip the Lady Geckos knew this would be a dog fight of a match. Both teams played physical defense and battled for every possession. At one point Captain Sofi Belnap was slammed to the floor and left the game with a shoulder injury. During the ensuing timeout Coach Tuia talked about, “Pain being temporary, but championships are forever!” The girls continued to battle with everything they had. Many of the girls were banged up and bruised, but it didn’t stop them from diving for loose balls, hustling down the court, and continuing to fight with everything they had. As the final buzzer sounded the Lady Geckos held on to another one point victory and were crowned 2010-11 ACAMIS Champions.
The Lady Geckos proved to be an amazing team from top to bottom. Each player took on a unique role helping the team be the best unit it could be. Jennifer Whetter, Sofi Belnap, and Maddy McMillan were recognized as All Tournament selections for their individual play. These awards were well deserved, but the coaches and players were emphatic about the true prize being their ability of the team to come together and achieve their goals as a unit. The Lady Geckos of 2011 ACAMIS Champions will be remembered as a team with enthusiasm, toughness, and the ability to “MAN UP!”
To read more stories about Shekou International School visit their website: www.sis.org.cn/why-choose-sis