While the majority of students were sitting at home with their families eating delicious dinners of gravy-covered mashed potatoes and thick pumpkin pie, 24 SAS Eagles were off in Hong Kong, dunking basketballs into hoops instead of turkey into cranberry sauce. This year was Hong Kong International School’s 46th annual Holiday Basketball Tournament, and for many years, SAS has been a part of it. Although the Eagles have won championships in the past, the SAS boys and girls have never had a tournament where they both came out victors – until this year.
Many people had extreme doubts about the girls’ varsity this year, mainly due to the fact that they lost seven seniors last year, two of which had been four-year veterans. Despite uncertainty, the girls came out with a 68-62 win against the Australian School of Singapore, after having gone undefeated in the round robin.
The final was an incredibly close call, with a tie being held during the majority of the second half. The last time SAS took home the gold for this tournament was all the way back in 2010, so there was an extreme sense of pride in all the girl Eagles when Sarah Rich, junior, scored a three-pointer with only a minute left to lock in the game. Nicole Cook, senior captain, also had a major contribution of 22 points in the game. When asked her thoughts on the tournament, she said, “It’s definitely an awesome feeling to finally bring home the championship, especially since Hong Kong is my favourite tournament.”
The boys’ team, like the girls, held a steady 6-0 record in the round robin, with a few close games to cause some uncertainty. In the finals, they faced the American School in Bangkok. ASB had multiple assets that helped carry them to the finals against SAS, but SAS managed to pull through with a 95-83 win. JJ Chou, sophomore, believes it was a team effort that helped get them in those crucial moments of the final game “It was an unbelievable experience. We played very well, especially our bench. Everyone stepped up.”
Two SAS Eagles were awarded as MVPs of the tournament, with nominations from their coaches. The girl’s award went to Kara Kidwell, a junior who just moved to SAS from Georgia and who has started every game for the team so far. The boy’s award went to JJ Chou. JJ Chou is spending his second year on varsity and had one of the greatest contributions to the final game, scoring 27 points in total.