What an incredible basketball season it has been. We started off the season getting slaughtered by a couple of teams. My girls worked hard in practice though, and as we developed our game we began to come back and win against some tough teams.The season here is just practice for the annual end of the season tournament between a coalition of International schools from across the country.
It was the first year our school had hosted the tournament for basketball, and all eyes were on us. We had sadly lost the last couple of games as well as a practice tournament we had participated in. My girls were tired and discouraged, but tough! Teams traveled from all over Southeast Asia, and we played 2 days of round robin play followed by a day of playoffs (8 games in 3 days…everyone was tired). We were excited going into the tournament but were unable to deliver, coming out of the round robin play with a record of 1-4 ranked 6th out of 6. We would play the 3rd ranked team in the elimination round on Sunday and the winner would advance to the semi-finals.
My assistant coaches and I had made a deal with the girls that if they made it to the Final we would wear our most formal black dresses. We hung our dresses in the locker room on Sunday as motivation, but I can honestly say neither of us expected to have to wear them. We came into the elimination round tired and struggling to wake up. We trailed the whole game, but somehow with 4 minutes to go in the 4th quarter my girls found some energy, put on a full court press, and proceeded to win the game by 6. Miraculously, our 6th ranked team was going to the semi-finals!
We had only an hour of rest before the semi-finals began. We were slotted to play the favorited team to win the whole tournament. With a couple of really tall girls and highly skilled posts, we were no match for these giants. We had lost by 10 or so to this team the day before. With no fear, my girls went out and played the game of their lives. Sinking 3s, making steals, playing together and boxing out like they had never done before, they once again walked away with a strong but close victory. We were going to the finals. I would have to get into my dress.
It was a comeback story and my girls were determined to see it to the end. The team we were playing in the finals had beat us by 12 the day before, but my girls wanted revenge. It was a close game and we tied it up several times, but we just couldn’t manage to grab onto the lead. But this was a home game, and the desire and courage was high. With the fans cheering loudly, my girls went into the 4th quarter, once again put on a strong press, and walked away with a win by 6.
The verse that has been on my heart these weeks is Romans 5:3-5, “And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”
What a joy it was to walk through this road of suffering, endurance, character and finally hope with these phenomenal, hard working, determined girls!
Here’s the photo album.
Watch a video of the final minutes: