Chan and Chia star in Shanghai

Written by Endria Tai

Both the boys’ and girls’ Black Kites basketball teams were crowned champions at the Red Division Association of China and Mongolia International Schools (ACAMIS) Basketball Tournament held at Dulwich College in Pudong, Shanghai from January 24-26.

The participating schools were host school Dulwich College Shanghai Pudong (DCSP), Dulwich College Beijing (DCB), Shanghai Singapore International School (SSIS), QSI International School (QSI), and the British International School Shanghai (BISS).

The boys’ team remained undefeated during the round-robin stage of the competition, winning against their opponents and was the number one seed going into the semi-finals.

The girls started off the tournament with two losses against Dulwich College (Shanghai Pudong) and Dulwich College (Beijing), going into the playoffs as third place.

The girls’ team overcame their two losses in the round-robin stage of the competition by winning against DCB in the semifinals, and DCSP in the finals, becoming the black horse of the tournament.

“At the beginning it was going bad and it was tough preparing for this tournament since the majority of the team was comprised of DP students and we struggled to find the balance between training and studying,” said girls’ team captain Sabrina Chan. “There were a few unexpected events that brought the team dynamic down, but we were able to bounce back.”

Her team-mate Ching Lam said, “The most memorable part for me was losing the first two games, because it was unbelievable. There was no way we should have lost to those teams. But being able to overcome our losses and win against the two teams we had previously lost  to made our championship much more special and memorable!”

The boys’ were also crowned champions as they continued their winning streak into the finals, winning against DCB with a score of 43-20.

The boys’ team had been practicing as a team almost every day for the past few years. “We went into the tournament confident that we were going to win, as we put in a lot of time and effort,” Year 13 Matthew Wong said.

Boys’ team coach Seth Levine lauded his players’ dedication. “This team made a commitment to train hard outside of school hours, both on Sundays and in the mornings before school starting in September.  They also put a lot of work in on their own in terms of their skill development. Other teams before them originally started training on Sundays, but this team made the choice to continue that tradition when they could have chosen otherwise, as I cannot require training on non-school days.  They expanded this effort to include morning training sessions, which no other team before them had chosen to do.”

“Our approach to the tournament was no different than in previous years in terms of our preparation before and effort during the tournament,” Levine said. “We trained and played just as hard the previous year in the final, where we lost, but we were up against a great team led by a great player and good shots didn't go in for us.  That's the way sports, and much of life works, but our positive approach of hard work and preparation remains the same.”

Levine also commended the boys for their defense. “We were very proud of our team defense all tournament as only one team (in the first game) scored more than 30 points against us, which is a phenomenal achievement in Men's basketball at any game length,” he said. “The fact we did this six games in a row is very impressive including allowing just 20 points in the final.”

“Our captain, Brian Chia was the best player on any of the teams and led the way all tournament including a terrific performance in the final where he blew open a close game in the third quarter by burying shot after shot in addition to his excellent defense.”

“Our other starters were excellent as well, which included Jimmy Ng and Matthew Wong who were named to the all-tournament team, Anson Pun (who hit a number of tough shots) and Richard Siu (who was a constant threat on the break all tournament).  We got great contributions from the bench from Justin Che, Anson Ng, David Yim, and Jay Chau. Angus Ng, Morris Lam and Daniel Tong closed out a number of games and helped keep the starters fresh for the crucial final games. Everyone on the team contributed, not just in the tournament but coming in to work morning after morning, Sunday afternoon after Sunday afternoon to help all of us get better as a team.  This achievement was a result of years of hard work.”

At the end of the tournament, Grace Chong (Year 11), Ching Lam (Year 12), and captain Sabrina Chan (Year 13) were all named as a part of the girls’ all-star team, while the nominees for the all-star team for the boys’ were Matthew Wong (Year 13), Jimmy Ng (Year 13), and captain Brian Chia (Year 13).

With the majority of both teams graduating this year, this was a special tournament for the seniors.

For the boys’ team captain Brian Chia, this was an unforgettable tournament. “I want to thank all my teammates and my coach for spending so many hours improving as a team. It was a great feeling knowing that I’d finished my Black Kites career with an ACAMIS basketball gold medal, which hasn’t been accomplished by our school for a long time,” he said. “I hope that the basketball program here at RCHK continues to develop and younger players will dedicate themselves to the program and accomplish greater feats.”

“To the juniors, sophomores, and freshmen in the team: continue the RCHK basketball culture we have left behind,” said Matthew Wong. “It will be hard and strenuous but this journey will be all worth the ride.”