SINGAPORE - She has been a vital member of the Dunman Secondary School girls' basketball team since she enrolled via Direct School Admission in 2009.
Sharon Lee has been so successful that she has won four championship titles - two C and B Division triumphs each - during her five years of study at Dunman.
She has also been crowned the Most Valuable Player award for three successive years - 2010, 2011 and 2012.
While the Secondary 5 student clearly excels in the sport, she was not in love with basketball when she first tried her hand at it.
"I started basketball when I was in Primary 3, but not because I was interested in the game," said Sharon.
"It's just that my teacher (Chua Cheow Teck from Telok Kurau Primary School) asked me to join because the junior team that year were short of players. I decided to try something new, so I agreed and tried to learn how to play."
Despite initially doubting her ability to excel at the game, Sharon's passion for basketball eventually took root and blossomed, culminating in a second-placed finish at national level in her Primary 6 year.
That was when Tan Jing Yang, then a teacher with Dunman, talent-spotted Sharon and offered her a place in the school.
Since joining Dunman, the point guard has gone from strength to strength. She credits her secondary school for developing her as a player and as a person.
"I used to be very temperamental, but in Secondary 1, Coach Ryan (Koh) taught me to be more patient, to look at things with a different perspective and to solve problems through intelligent solutions," said the 17-year-old.
"I changed and became more mature and when I was in Sec 2, I became captain and led the team."
Sharon's most memorable championship win was in 2011 when the school bagged its first boys' and girls' B Division double, ensuring a triumphant send-off for Tan, who left Dunman that year.
Her most challenging win came this year. Many of the players from the previous championship-winning teams had graduated, and Sharon, along with her primary school friend Nur Syafirah, had to get used to operating in a new outfit.
She said: "It was a challenge to play with my juniors who are younger than me because I was the so-called grand senior.
"I was the most experienced and I couldn't afford to make silly mistakes.
"I had to bond with them in order to get the chemistry to play good basketball, so it was a whole new year for me."
Despite getting the season off to a rocky start, Sharon's team soon found their stride and made it to the B Division final, where they beat Unity Secondary School 63-53.
Sandy Leong, the teacher-in-charge of Dunman's B Division girls' team, said: "Sharon's quite a determined person. When the team don't play that well, she will be able to come back and lead the team.
"She's a very polite student who has a very good rapport with her team, and her teammates respect her for that."
Sharon aims to join a polytechnic next year to pursue a business diploma to help her parents Lee Hock Lye and Khamthong Duangsanom with their hawker business, but she is also keen to ensure that Dunman continues to excel at basketball.
"I hope I can come back to Dunman to help my coaches with the juniors," she said.
"I can share with them all the things that have benefited me and hopefully make a difference and help them achieve better results."
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