Basketball Teams Perform Well at National School Championships
Montevideo Primary School’s under 13 basketball boys and girls made team Western Cape proud as both teams won gold at the National School Championship in Bloemfontein last week.
The teams didn’t have it all their way though and had to fight hard for their victories. “The Boys main challenge came from the KZN team, as they had some big boys who were also quite quick around the court. We used our preliminary games to prep the team for the KZN final, once we knew that we would get them there. The Girls had a challenge throughout the tournament, as we are a small team with the exception of Sandisiwe Mbiza. We had to use our aggressive defence, and quickness around the court to get the better of our opponents,” said Team coach Craig Daniels
Daniels said that the teams victories was done to hours of hard work put in long before the tournament. “Our team’s preparation was quite intense. The boys and girls know that to achieve success, you need to put in the effort. Each team practiced four times a week, twice at 7:00 before school, and twice at 15:00, after school. Almost all of our players play for the local basketball club that is based at our school, Montana Vikings. So they play for the school during the first and fourth terms, and for the club during the second and third terms,” he said.
He also spoke about the excellent team spirit amoung both team throughout the week. “It helps that we are from the same school, and the players have been together for two to three years. We knew what our tournament goals were, and focused on getting there together,” said Daniels.
Daniels mentioned some of the players that stood out for him at the tournament: “in the boys, we had our point guard – Lutho Skweyiya, he managed the team on the court very well, and absorbed much of the pressure that the opponents tried to put on us. Inga Nonkonyana, and Lukhanyo Pezisa also played very well for the boys, they were huge on defence, and managed to get most of our defensive rebounds. With the girls, we had Dineo Fanampe and Courtney Bergstedt who played consistently well throughout the week. What makes their performance more noteworthy is that they are both Grade 6, and could be back at the tournament next year.”
Lukhanyo Pezisa and Sandisiwe Mbiza were also awarded Minesterial bursaries to the value of R100 000 for every year of their schooling for their excellent play in the tournament.
Daniels attributes the holistic approach used during training to the team’s ability to handle the pressure on the court. He said: “It really helps having the school players being active in the Federations leagues as well. This ensures year round competition for the players, and its competition that brings out the best in any athlete. We also focus on the player’s total development, not just their sport progress. This holistic development allows the players to deal with most situations that they encounter on the basketball court.”