Myerscough College’s talented basketballers have been named as the second best on the planet after reaching the final of the FIBA 3x3 World Schools Championships in Tallinn, Estonia.
The College, who were chosen to represent England at theprestigious International Schools Federation (ISF) event, selected a quartet of Myerscough’s AASE (Advanced Apprentice in Sporting Excellence) students to take part in the games, competing alongside nations such as China, Australia, Germany, and Canada.
Myerscough narrowly lost out to Slovenia 17 - 21 in the final, having battled past the Czech Republic 11 - 9 in the semi-final, and defeating hosts Estonia 15 - 11 in the quarter finals.
This was after coming through a tough group stage where Myerscough won five of their six matches, picking up impressive victories against Chile, Turkey, Latvia, the Czech Republic and Belgium before a dramatic win against France set up the quarter final against Estonia.
After a quarter final victory a last second three point shot against the Czech Republic secured a place in the final, but it wasn’t quite to be as the side were beaten by their impressive European opponents. The players selected for the final were students Matthew Hodgkinson, Awo Nuwe, Zion Tordoff, and Radostin Papazov.
In addition to a strong showing on the court the England delegation were awarded the Kinder Sport Joy of Moving (Fair Play Award). The ISF Kinder Joy of Movement Award recognises the team that has represented a culture of fair play on and off the court throughout the competition and is voted on by the other nations of the tournament.
Myerscough College coach, Dan Gayle, said: "We have had a fantastic experience, and to finish second in the world is some achievement.
‘’As well as taking part in the basketball tournament delegations have enjoyed the culture and diversity of a gathering of World Nations.
The opportunity to explore Tallinn, a city steeped in heritage and history was also a big part of the cultural experience enjoyed by all participants.’’
Myerscough student, Matthew Hodgkinson, captained the side and said: "The experience is one I will remember for a long, long time - it has been amazing and I feel I have developed not only as a basketball player but as a person. I have loved every minute.
‘’On behalf of Myerscough College we would like to thank the organisers for a truly unforgettable and enriching experience.’’
Myerscough College’s Head of Basketball, Neal Hopkins, said: ‘’This was a huge opportunity for some of our students and will provide them with an experience that will last a lifetime.
‘’It’s not every day you get to compete on a world stage against some of the best talent from other countries. It was an unbelievable trip and marks a real high point for the players, staff and the College – to be given the chance to represent England at an international event is something we are incredibly proud of.’’
Considered to be the number one urban team sport in the world, 3 on 3 basketball is a simplified version of its 5 on 5 big brother. The World Championships is the largest tournament of its kind, played every two years since its creation in 2012. Unlike regular basketball, matches are played on a half court with one basket instead of two. The game is a single period of ten minutes with the winner being the first team to score 21 or the team with the highest score at the end of the game
The selection of Myerscough College to represent England marks another highly successful season for the Academy, who enjoyed a perfect regular season in their EABL conference, as well as reaching the national EABL Championship final and the final of the AoC Sport National Cup.
Myerscough Principal, Ann Turner, said: ‘’The team did Myerscough proud, playing for England whilst wearing their Myerscough kit. They should be truly proud of their performance – silver medallists in the world championships and another trophy to add to their collection.
‘’A new trophy cabinet may be required! Many congratulations and well done to the team and coaches Neil Hopkins & Dan Gayle.’’
For more photographs and videos of the trip search for ‘Myerscough Basketball Academy’ on Twitter or Facebook.
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by Dave Salmon