The Singapore American School (SAS) scored a double victory at the 46th Annual Holiday Basketball Tournament held at Hong Kong International School (HKIS) last weekend. The tournament saw boys' and girls' teams from seven international schools around Asia compete, with each team playing seven or eight games over the three-day event.
On the final day, boys from Japan's St Mary's International School scored a 61-48 win against American School in Japan (ASIJ), putting ASIJ in sixth place. The HKIS Dragons were then narrowly beaten by Taipei American School (TAS), 43-41, but the Dragons beat ASIJ, 78-57, in the consolation round for a fifth place finish.
SAS continued their winning streak with a 69-36 win over TAS, while the American School of Bangkok (ASB) thrashed St Mary's 72-35. TAS and St Mary's then battled it out for third and fourth place, with TAS coming out on top 54-43.
SAS won the boys' crown when they defeated ASB 95-83 in their last match.
For the girls' teams, the final day started off with two close games. Australian International School Singapore (AISS) narrowly beat ASIJ 56-52, while HKIS swept past ASB 55-47.
In the consolation round, ASB beat ASIJ 35-23 to finish fifth, while ASIJ came sixth.
The HKIS girls could not maintain their good form, falling to SAS, 49-36, in their next match. In contrast, AISS scored a second victory, 54-46, against TAS.
In the battle for third place, HKIS fought back to win 59-55 against TAS, who finished in fourth place.
Two of the strongest teams clashed in the championship match, with SAS retaining their title with a narrow 68-62 victory over AISS.
Now in its 46th year, the tournament is not only about winning, but also forging new friendships. "This tournament has been the longest-standing tradition at HKIS," explains Emily Bisgaard, a Grade 12 student and a member of the HKIS girls' team. "It's a great way to meet people and have fun."
When not battling it out on the court, students from rival teams are often seen hanging out together on the bleachers, or sharing pizza and popcorn with opponents they faced only minutes before.
But of course, it is a competition and the teams take winning seriously.
"I've been watching HKIS compete against top teams around Asia ever since I was in fourth grade," says Julian Chan, also a Grade 12 student and a member of the HKIS boys' team.
"I've always known that the Holiday Tournament is one of the toughest events we'll play all season."