U15 Boys are champs, U15 Girls place 3rd at Khao Yai tournament
KHAO YAI, NAKHON RATCHASSIMA – Fresh off a stunning upset in boys volleyball against New International School of Thailand (NIST) of the Bangkok International School Athletic Conference (BISAC), the Wells International School Seahawks continued to assert themselves as a major force to contend with in interscholastic sports even amongst Thailand’s largest international schools.
Not taking any breaks after their TISAC opener the day before, the U15 Boys and Girls took their first ever out-of-town road trip, participating in the 2010 St. Stephen’s Khao Yai Invitational Basketball Tournament, held in Nakhon Ratchassima from October 1st to 3rd. Featured in the tournament were BISAC powerhouses Harrow International School (Boys) and Thai-Chinese International School (TCIS), along with fellow BISAC members Traill International School and Shrewsbury (Girls). Also entering the tournament were St. Andrew’s International School – Sathorn Campus and, of course, the host school, St. Stephen’s International School – Khao Yai.
In what turned out to be yet another classic battle between David and Goliath, the U15 Boys Basketball Team fought its way to the championship game, facing the Lions from Harrow International School. Despite suffering an early blow-out loss to the Lions, 30-12, in pool play, the Seahawks were able beat TCIS by one point, and blow out Traill, St. Andrew’s and host St. Stephen’s Khao Yai, to earn the number two spot in the championship game.
Not willing to squander a chance to redeem themselves, the Seahawks started the final game strong, taking an early lead behind the aggressive shooting of freshmen Chayut “Van” Chayutti and Sitibhum “Tenn” Chaiwatnarathorn. However, the Lions clawed their way back into the game, eventually overtaking Wells to a 15-13 lead with just a few minutes left in the fourth quarter. But the Seahawks refused to give up. A last minute offensive surge propelled Wells ahead 17-15 as the clock ticked down to zero. However, much to the dismay of a prematurely celebrating Seahawk crowd, a shooting foul was called against Wells with no time left, allowing Harrow one last chance to tie up the game. And, in dramatic fashion, the Lions showed their mettle, sinking both free throws to knot up the score at 17-17, forcing the game into overtime.
In the 5-minute extra period, veteran captain Yueh Ting “Kevin” Han decided to take charge of his team, forcing two quick steals to put Wells up 20-17 after an easy layup and 1 of 2 foul shots. But the Lions weren’t finished, catching the Seahawks with a layup and foul shot of their own to tie it at 20-20 with two minutes left in OT. However, another aggressive drive to the basket put Wells up 22-20. With the clock ticking down, the Lions rushed, perhaps too hastily, down the court only to turn the ball over on an errant pass, hence giving the Seahawks a chance to put up an insurance shot to take a commanding 24-20 lead. And, despite being able to add another two points with just 10 seconds left to close the gap at 24-22, the exasperated Lions could only chase the ball in vain as Seahawks wisely played “keep-away” to run down the clock and claim the tournament crown. For their accomplishment, team members earned themselves gold medals, 1st place certificates and a tournament championship plaque for the Wells trophy case.
The U15 Girls Team also was able to make a statement of its own, though not necessarily in as dramatic a fashion as the boys. Despite being vastly outnumbered and outsized by the BISAC behemoths, the Lady Seahawks hung tough but lost against TCIS, 16-13, and Shrewsbury, 24-19. Nonetheless, the Wells girls were able to earn victories against Traill, also from BISAC, and host school St. Stephen’s Khao Yai, to even their record at 2 wins and 2 losses, earning Wells a spot in the championship bracket.
Like the boys, the girls were given one final opportunity to show the crowd that they belonged among the elite schools. And show the crowd they did – at least at first.
The semi-final game was a rematch between the Lady Seahawks and the Lady Storm from Shrewsbury. Behind the quick hands of freshman captain and point guard Kanny Smith, and solid shooting by freshman center Marin Takahashi, Wells was able to build a commanding 8-2 lead in the first quarter. However, the aggressive full-court pressure from Shrewsbury eventually took its toll on the already short-staffed Lady Seahawks, allowing the Storm to surge ahead 18-14 by the final buzzer.
Wells’ girls did not, however, leave empty handed, as their appearance in the semi-final round earned them bronze medals and certificates for a 3rd place finish.