Arriving early at the Ellesmere Port Sports Village for the ISA North Basketball Championships certainly paid off for the Bridgewater squad. Due to a no show by Clarendon Cottage an extra space opened up and Bridgewater decided to split the squad to compete as two teams.
With both teams in opposite groups, the tournament began with hopes of a fun day and a few good wins. The newly formed Bridgewater A opened up with a dominant performance against St Gerard’s Prep, who struggled to get out of their own half. Despite having 27 shots, it was 3 baskets from Star that was to give Bridgewater a comfortable 6-0 win.
Game 2 was far more hard fought, although once again Bridgewater dominated possession. Eventually it was a basket from Ellen that gave the team a 2-0 win over Abbotsford Prep. Pre-tournament favourites The Firs were up next and both teams had chances to win it. Daniel went closest on several occasions, including hitting the rim within the last seconds of the game. An unusual 0-0 score line was probably a justified result for both teams and maintained Bridgewater’s unbeaten start to the tournament. Game 4 proved to be far more comfortable for the A team , as they ran out 10-0 winners over Cransley Prep. Star was in shooting form with 3 baskets from 3 shots, with Ethan and Ellen scoring the other points.
Game 5 was to prove pivotal, as a win would put Bridgewater top of the table and Queen Ethelburga’s A team, out of the finals. Once again the team defended incredibly well, and at the other end, the pressure on the opponent’s basket was eventually to pay off. Baskets from Star again and a superb lay- up shot from Archie, gave the team an impressive 13 points out of 15 and amazingly, the team did not concede a single point! With the A team topping the group, it was over to Bridgewater B to see if they could reach the semi- finals too.
The opening fixture proved to be a tough one for the B team, as they took on group favourites Brabyns Prep. Despite a valiant effort and a basket by Kynan the team went down to a 7-2 defeat. Next up was St Joseph’s and the team played brilliantly and won 8-4 with baskets from Kynan (2) and Jessica (2).
Game 3 was another hard fought match against Queen Ethelburga’s B team and we produced a sensational performance to win 4-0, with Jessica again scoring and Dante adding another.
With the pressure on to qualify for the semi- finals, Bridgewater needs to avoid defeat against Prenton Prep and Abbotsford A. The task was made even more difficult as we lost leading scorer Jessica to a hand injury! Jessica and Freya had been linking up to create chances throughout the tournament, so this was a big blow to the B team. However, their determination to win was a joy to see. Florence and Oliver were in top from and thanks to baskets from Kynan and Freya the team secured second spot in the group stage.
With both teams qualified the hopes of an all Bridgewater dream final were dashed, as the teams were drawn against each other! Once again both teams went for victory with energy and enthusiasm. The game could of gone either way….however, in the end, baskets from Daniel and Ethan were enough to put the A team into the final. The B team can take huge credit for their performance on the day and can be delighted with their results in the competition.
The final was a re- match of a group stage game that ended scoreless – tournament favourites The Firs. Bridgewater started well but looked stunned when they conceded their first points of the day to go 2-0 down early on. However, the team were in no mood to go home without the title and with time running out, Daniel equalised and Ethan slam dunked the all- important championship winning basket!
It was a day to remember for a long time for the players, who ran tirelessly and showed resilience and a desire to do well that was a pleasure to be part of. The day was topped off with a photo opportunity with two of the Chester Phoenix professional players, who were also impressed with the standard of basketball shown on the day by all schools present. The mood on the journey home on the mini bus was jubilant and was summed up beautifully by the Prep5/6 Champions, as they joined in with the chorus of Ed Sheeran’s song – “Perfect.”