Our first game was versus ASU from Mongolia. They were a very large and physical team with some very strong talent. As it would turn out they would lose the championship game versus QISS QingDao. We started off flat but with the outstanding defensive play of Kentaro and SJ were able to fight for a 2-point deficit going into the half. Tristan Greene was able to penetrate their defense and make a few beautiful jump shots at the top of the key. Kentaro would steal the ball and take it down for fast break layup or fouls on numerous occasions. We were playing very well. The second half ASU arrived in fine form and pulled away, but for the first organized game our team played well and showed great promise. Our team was coming together. We were starting to gel, learning quickly from our experience. For many of our players this was their very first organized basketball match at this level and they were clearly there to compete.
QISS is the team that in the end would win the tournament championship. They had a returning squad that played well last year under the strong play of DJ Letoison. We had the honour of playing the two best teams on our first day at the tournament, and we held our own. The game was very close all the way. Kentaro and Tristan Greene’s defense up top effectively shut DJ down and Wesley, Patrick and SJ’s rebounds limited their scoring opportunities. Tristan Nelson came in and contributed a couple mid range jump shots. We had some unfortunate turnovers in the final minutes and lost by just two baskets, which is a closer deficit than the final match versus ASU.
Game #1 CISB
This was our first match of the second day. After learning from the first two games of the tournament the day before, we found our stride and played beautifully against the host team CISB of Beijing. Everyone played a part. Dash hit a running floater in the fourth quarter, Storm grabbed some rebounds, and we all worked effectively to squelch their best player’s offense, Michael #25 is the best athlete CISB has had, from ever catching fire. We commanded this game from beginning to end and won by 16 points. The other teams watching knew DCSZ, though young, was a team to contend with.
Game #2 ISU
ISU won the ACAMIS tournament for the last 3 years and returned this year with a very strong squad. As the tournament schedule was set up we had to win this game or the next to advance in the tournament and we were set to play back to back. With a limited bench we had to be careful not to ware ourselves out for the following game but also play this game to win. To start this game Shawn Hsu put us in a commanding lead with two three pointers in the starting minutes. He would end of playing a great game, with steals, pull up jump shots and multiple drives to the basket. He was picking their defense apart. They are a strong team though and the game was back and fourth. In the final quarter, Patrick contributed a steal with a fast break he carried to a sweeping layup and we were down by just a basket in the closing minutes. Our team gave it their all with incredibly strong play by Wesley Nelson who dominated the boards and put numerous offensive rebounds in the basket but in the end it wasn’t enough.
Game #3 CISB
This was our last game of the day and became a must win match for us to advance in the finals. We had just played a terribly rough battle with ISU and CISB was hungry for revenge. CISB was fresh and we were coming right off a physical game, which put us in a slight disadvantage coming into this critical game. Many of our players were showing signs of fatigue, but their spirit was strong and we played very well. It was a different game than the first. Our defense was compromised by exertion, which gave Michael #25, just enough room to get hot. At this point we dearly missed our captain and oldest player John Newman who learned at the last minute he would not be able to attend the tournament. As a young team the poise and composure he brings to the court is just what was needed. Our exhaustion and inexperience showed and we had some unfortunate turnovers and trouble converting our “easy” baskets. Wesley played incredibly strong and kept us close all the way but it wasn’t enough and the game slipped away in the final minutes. We would spend the rest of the tournament supporting our girls on their victorious path to becoming tournament champions!
Coming into the tournament our team had a clear disadvantage. The other teams had played a “season” of basketball coming into the tournament. This was their culminating event, whereas our first games were played at the tournament itself and with the strongest two teams. Coupled with this, our captain John Newman and Assistant Coach Jeffrey Lewis were absent from the tournament. That said, our team played very well, showed great sportsmanship, spirit and at anytime could have beat any of the teams there, and nearly did. Wesley earned “All Star” and our team received multiple compliments from the coaches on the progress we had made and their very legitimate fear of our team next year. The youth of our basketball team is very strong which gives us a lot of hope for future basketball at DCSZ.