On a bone-chilling, windy night, the Diocesan Boys' School (DBS) team warmed to their task to earn a hat-trick of basketball titles. They won the Nike All Hong Kong Schools Jing Ying Basketball Tournament for the third year in a row, beating Ying Wa College 64-49 in the final at the Southorn Stadium in Wan Chai on Sunday.
DBS centre Yip Yiu-pong, 17, was named the tournament's most valuable player (MVP).
DBS led 17-9 at the end of the first quarter, as their man-to-man defence dominated their opponents. Small forward Poon Man-ho, 17, led the way for the defending champions with nine points.
In the second quarter, Ying Wa made a good comeback with a stronger offence. They focused on "quick plays" which created favourable scoring opportunities, putting DBS under a lot of pressure. Ying Wa's shooting guard Ho Yee-yeung and small forward Kwan Chun-to, both 17, made crucial three-pointers, which helped their team tie the game at 23-all.
But Ying Wa had no answer as DBS turned on the power in the third and fourth quarters to run out comfortable winners. Small forward An Mo-lung, 17, contributed 10 points for DBS, while MVP Yiu-pong's height proved a big stumbling block for their opponents.
Yiu-pong, who had 15 points and 6 rebounds, said the defence played an important role in the final. "I'm satisfied with our defensive strategies as we successfully blocked a lot of our opponents' shooting opportunities," he said.
But Yiu-pong said they faced a tough battle in the second quarter. "I was nervous as our opponents put a lot of pressure on us. Both teams were neck and neck at the end of the second quarter, but then we executed another game plan which mainly focused on defence."
DBS coach Wu Kwok-fung said he was not happy with his team's defence in the second quarter. "But their defence improved later which helped them control the game," Wu said.
DBS power forward Hon Tin-chi said that teamwork and tactics were key to winning the title. "After the first half, our coach told us not to continue our shoot-first mentality," said Tin-chi. "Instead he said it's more important to set up teammates. So once we had scoring opportunities, we passed the ball to the shooters."
In the girls' final at the same venue, Heep Yunn School were crowned champions for the fourth consecutive year after scoring a convincing 72-53 victory over Chinese YMCA Secondary School (CSS). Heep Yunn's shooting guard Wong Nga-man, 16, won the MVP award. The victory was sweet revenge for Heep Yunn, who lost to CSS earlier this season. CSS edged out Heep Yunn 38-37 in a preliminary round game last month.
Heep Yunn, who led 34-28 at half-time, relied on their tough defence to block their opponents' scoring opportunities.
Point guard Ngan Ching-yi, 16, and shooting guard Law Nga-wing, 14, excelled for CSS with several three-point shots, but Heep Yunn proved too strong in the end.
Heep Yunn's stars were Nga-man and 15-year-old Tsui Wing-yu, who combined to score 31 points, nearly half their team's total.
Their coach, Dora Yum, said her team had learned from their defeat against CSS.
"It served as a 'wake-up call' for our team and it made us even stronger," she said. "The team trained harder and listened to my instructions. We especially focused on defence in our training and our team's efforts paid off today. It was also a great pleasure to see Grades A, B and C players combine well with each other, helping us to win the crown."