SINGAPORE - He was the smallest player on the court, but Unity Secondary School's John Christopher stood the tallest as he helped Unity retain the B Division boys' title at the Schools National Basketball Championships yesterday.
Standing just 1.62m and weighing 47kg, the 14-year-old point guard scored 25 points to give Unity a thrilling comeback victory over Dunman Secondary School (DSS) at the Jurong East Sports and Recreation Centre.
Unity trailed 58-65 with less than two minutes left, but captain Foo Jun Lin and John each scored a three-pointer, before a lay-up by Thng Yong-An and a free throw by Tan Min Hui completed the comeback.
"I missed open goals at the start, but I told myself I could do it. As a team we encouraged one another too," said John, who was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP).
Even though the Secondary 3 student was playing against taller opponents, his performance was no surprise to his team.
Assistant coach Steve Goh said: "John might be disadvantaged in terms of height, but he is very skilful for his age and does not get dispossessed easily." Captain Jun Lin revealed that the team were motivated to defeat Dunman after having narrowly lost to them 53-55 in the first round of the championships.
Dunman led for the first three periods, but ended the game devastated.
Captain Choo Tin Liang, 16, said: "We were not focused enough in the last few minutes. Unity played well and deserved to win.
"So we hope our juniors can learn from this lesson."
The school fared better in the girls' final, another tense affair between them and Singapore Chinese Girls' School (SCGS).
The two sides were neck-and-neck throughout, and the game was only decided 47 seconds from time when DSS' Nur Khaliesah scored a three-pointer to give them a 38-35 victory,
DSS coach Tan Siong Leng said: "I am surprised at our win, as SCGS have a very strong team, but the girls believed in themselves and they did it."
This article was published on April 25 in The Straits Times.
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