Knowing the wealth of talent among the year 11 girls the decision was taken to enter the Wolverhampton U16 Girls’ basketball tournament, despite the girls playing very little basketball in school to date. Simone McKen, Miracle Ahme, Megan Lincoln, Maiya Grant, Suzanna Jones, Brittany Jarman-Watson and Millie Cartwright formed our first girls’ basketball team. Thankfully the girls could draw upon the expertise of fellow year 11’s Taron Nijjar and Sisqo Lambert, who volunteered themselves to coach the girls’ team in the two weeks leading up to the tournament. Taron and Sisqo gave up time in their own PE lessons and most lunch times to train the team and demonstrated a commitment and coaching ability beyond their years, showing organisation, excellent communication skills, knowledge and understanding and patience. The determination of the the coaches and the players cannot be faulted, with all showing endless enthusiasm and motivation to improve.

Following all the hard work, there were a lot of nerves on the day of the tournament, especially from the coaches. S. Peter’s got off to a strong start with an 18-4 win over King’s School, followed by a 10-0 victory over Wolverhampton Girls’ High B. All players played a key role, working solidly together to form a near impenetrable defence and all looked threatening in attack, making sure their chances counted.

Following a win over hosts Moseley Park, S. Peter’s had to go straight into a match against The Royal, who were also unbeaten. This was a challenging and tough game with players on both sides showing a high degree of skill and athleticism. The game finished 0-0 and both teams qualified for the semi finals.

The semi finals brought a new challenge in that they were 5v5 games, a format in which our girls had not previously played. But thanks to some words of advice from Taron and Sisqo this did not show and the girls’ carried the ball up the court fantastically and closed down to defend quickly. Play maker Miracle moved the ball up the court brilliantly and there was a strong team defence from Megan, Simone, Maiya and Suzanna. Super subs Millie and Brittany offered a new lease of energy and never let the standards slip. S. Peter’s beat Our Lady and St Chad’s 6-2 in the semi-final, setting up a re-match against The Royal in the final. And what a final it was. Tensions were high and it was a very physical, tough and again very close game with little to separate the teams. In the closing second Simone McKen was awarded two free throws and netted the second to take the title.

The scene was jubilant to say the least, with a mix of smiles, screams and tears all round, Taron and Sisqo included. They were quite rightly immensely proud of how far they had come in such a short space of time. Captain Simone McKen collected the trophy on behalf of the players and coaches and was also a deserved winner of the outstanding player of the tournament award.

We are hugely proud of their achievement but even more so their conduct, sportsmanship, team work and dedication. Not one player or coach would take any credit for the victory, each showing great appreciation for one another. A true team effort. Team work makes the dream work!

Hopefully these girls will inspire more girls basketball success in the future, especially if we can hang onto our coaching team!