Mafeking — A total of 15 athletes, 5 girls and 10 boys, all learners of the Deutsche Höhere Privatschule Windhoek (DHPS) got up very early, despite the hectic school calendar's promise of a long weekend on the occasion of the Namibian Independence Anniversary Celebrations.
Accompanied by their coach and teacher Melusi Linda, one DHPS boys' and one girls' team flew to South Africa to participate in the International Basketball Tournament held at the International School South Africa (ISSA).
This tournament is organised for teams in the U19 (under 19 years) category. However, both DHPS teams were much younger, with four out of five girls (Ashley Linda, Operi Tjingaete, Saskia Krüger and Helen Ndongala) still in the under-14 age category.
From Johannesburg airport, the team had to take a four-hour bus ride to the venue. Arriving at the ISSA, both teams checked in their rooms in the school's boarding school premises. On Friday, the boys' team had to compete in two games.
The boys, with Captain Ebben Shatipamba, had their first encounter with the host team and lost 23:34 with unusual clarity. Despite their 27:38 defeat against the tournament winner Waldorf-school Michael Mount in their second game, the DHPS players played a far better game compared to their first appearance.
The girls also competed in two games on Friday. They lost 23:33 against the Norkem team and then defeated the hosts of ISSA after an exciting and well-balanced game with 17:16.
On Saturday, the DHPS celebrated a great victory against the team of Lebone. The girls safely won 30:16, which marked their entry into the quarterfinals.
They won their quarterfinal match against Bishop Bavin with 26:24, because the opponents had underestimated our still very young, but dedicatedly fighting players.
This signalled the team's entry into the semi-finals, which no other DHPS team has ever reached before. Captain Silke Redecker - like Coach Linda - could really be proud of their team.
In the quarterfinals, our girls played against the final winner, the very experienced team of Waldorf School Michael Mount. Of course, this team had a close look at our players the day before and so Michael Mount faced the dribbling skills and the fast pace of our girl with effective countermeasures.
After their defeat, the DHPS team had the opportunity to fight for third place, which meant their second encounter with the Norkem team.
Unfortunately, Ashly had injured herself in the first semi-final, so that our team was clearly weakened for this match. The players still fought relentlessly, but too many games without substitutes ultimately took their toll and the DHPS team finished fourth.
They also received a small trophy for the "Most Disciplined Team" and Ashly Linda was chosen for the "All-Star Team" - another achievement that no DHPS player had ever achieved before in an ISSA