Under-14s shine at basketball festival

Jeppe held its third under-14 basketball gathering last weekend and our under-14s did themselves proud by making the prestigious “main game” – the final match of the festival, contested by the two teams that the all the coaches believe played the best basketball over the three days.

Jeppe met St Stithians in that game and lost to them 24-8. They lost their earlier encounter with Saints as well – their only two defeats over the three games. St Stithians were the only team to go end up winning all their matches.

The event is a festival rather than a tournament because we believe boys at this age are still learning to play the game and subjecting them to the pressure associated with a knockout competition is inappropriate.

“We felt it’s better for them to play nine games each, with no league points being kept,” said Jeppe director of sport Brendan Gittins. “The emphasis is on gaining match experience and, because the results are not that important, the coaches were encouraged to give all the players in their squads a lot of game time, instead of playing their best five all the time. In the process, it’s easier to make friends with players from the other schools when the white hot pressure of competition is not there.”

Jeppe’s Brent Johnson and Ben Benjamin, who played for the Invitation team, made the tournament “Dream Team”.

Jeppe’s results were: vs St Andrew’s won 21-12, vs Bishop Bavin won 24-14, vs Queens College won 32-14, vs Invitation Team won 26-12, vs KES won 20-15, Vs St Stithians lost 26-18 and 24-8, vs Pretoria won 31-22, vs St David’s won 17-14, vs Parktown won 21-14.