After winning the district tournament last year the Year 9 girls qualified to the county finals. It was quite a daunting competition as we turned up at Surrey sports with what looked like semi pro teams practising their lay-ups. The girls were in a pool of 6 and we went into our first match a little excited/nervous. The girls certainly stepped up and got into a rhythm, the pace of the match was incredibly quick and baskets were being scored at both ends. There were certainly a lot of red faces! Hannah, at one point intercepted the ball at the half way line and managed to single handed dribble the ball up and score, which pleasantly surprised herself. We managed to win the game 14-8 against Blenheim.
We had a couple of games off before playing our next match and were able to scope out the next team, we worked out who were their strongest players and who would mark who. The next match against Glebelands was such a tight competition. With 3 minutes to go it was 10-10 and the pressure was on, Olivia had scored off some excellent lay ups and they had begun to recognise our patterns of play. They were awarded a free throw in the last 2 minutes which they managed to score, taking it to 10-12. Then in the last minute they managed to get a fast break and score taking the final score to 10-14 to Glebelands.
We then went straight into our 3rd and 4th game, which the girls found exhausting as did my voice from shouting ‘drop, half court!’. We had clocked three players from George Abbot that clearly belonged to a basketball club outside of School, so Olivia, Amy and Safia had their work cut out to try and eliminate these players from receiving the ball. We clearly got under their skin as it was another incredibly tight match. The final score being 8-6 to George Abbot, so only one basket in it. Similar score against SJB where we lost 10-12, with again only one basket between us.
The 5th and last game of the pool was against Royal A&A, which was very feisty. They had two girls who played for a club and they relied on these girls to dribble in a shoot. Although we only had Olivia who has played basketball outside of school, the rest of the girls have experience from Netball or other team sports which enabled them to pull together as a team rather than just relying on one or two individuals. After a couple of grazed knees, a bent finger nail and some sheer determination from Scarlett who was scoring no matter what, we finished winning the match 12-8.
The results came through as to who had made it to the semi-finals. Having checked the score sheet ourselves and Blenheim had won and lost the same amount of games, with the same goal difference however as we had managed to beat them in the first game we made it through to the semi-finals against George Abbot who had come first in the pool overall. It was a hard match and extremely tiring for the girls. We lost but recognised that they were a strong team.
Despite losing the girls wished to stay and watch the final. George Abbot won the final against SJB in overtime, so it made it more satisfying knowing that we had been knocked out in the semi-finals by the overall winners. Well done girls it was a pleasure to take you and cheer you on from the sidelines!
The year 9 team were Olivia, Amelia, Safia, Hannah, Amy-Leigh, Scarlett, Elise and Emma-Louise.