Basketball, one of the fastest games on this planet demands extraordinary agility, speed, endurance and flexibility. But that couldn’t deter our players from mastering it.

Our U-17 and U-19 teams enthusiastically participated in the CBSE Cluster XIII – Inter School Tournament 2019-20 held at the American School of Baroda from 9th October 2019 to 11th October 2019. A total of 80 teams from Gujarat, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu participated in this sports festival. The stage was set and the journey was going to be tough and fierce.

The first match of the U-17 campaign was on 9th October at 8:00 am against GDS, Valsad. It was a nail-biting match with each team playing intensely to win. But, with an extraordinary performance by Tirthbhai and Luvbhai, we secured a win with a narrow margin of 19-17. It marked a wonderful beginning of their journey.

After the first match, we had an inaugural ceremony at 9:00 am. All the 80 teams assembled in front of the stage. After taking an oath to play with sportsman spirit, each team marched with their school flag. Then, the chief guest officially called the tournament open which was followed by the hoisting of flag.

Our U-17 team then had a break on 9th October, with the second game against Essar International School, Surat planned on 10th October at 9:00 am. The first match victory did give us that extra confidence which helped us begin the second game with full spirit taking a 4-point lead. With contributions from all players, we secured an easy win with the scoreboard reading 16-07 in the end. This win took us straight to the quarter-finals.

The quarter-final match began at 5:30 pm after a short afternoon break. We were facing Nand Vidya Niketan School, Jamnagar who too had a great journey so far. However, owing to Parmeshbhai’s smooth 3-pointers and Harshilbhai’s solid blocks, we secured an easy ticket to the semi-finals with a score of 24-06. The rest of the evening was spent watching the other quarter-finals.

Our semi-final match was against Shri Ramkrishna Harikrishna Academy, Surat. They had entered the semi-finals after beating previous year’s runners–up KD Ambani Vidyamandir, Jamnagar. It began on 11th October at 7:30 am. We had a great start, courtesy Luvbhai’s speed and Tirthbhai’s rebounds. We also witnessed an excellent defence performance with some spectacular blocks by Harshilbhai. The early lead boosted our confidence and we secured an easy victory to reserve our place in the finals. The scoreboard read 33-13. Having an unbeatable record in the tournament served as a great source of inspiration for all.

After the U-19 category finals, we had our final match at 8:00 pm against the defending champions, Gujarat Public School, Baroda. It was a nail-biting match till the half-time with each team desperately wanting to clinch the Gold. However, after a tough game, we lost the finals with a score of 31-39, winning the Silver medal.

The first match for our U-19 team was in the evening session on 9th October at 5:00 pm against Shanti Asiatic School, Ahmedabad. The players of the opposition team were skilful but owing to Zeelbhai’s wonderful defence and Dhrumilbhai’s smooth driving, we secured a win with an easy margin of 12-05.

The second match was scheduled on the same day at 9:00 pm. We had a boost of confidence after the first win but this game was much tougher. It was against Vallabh Ashram School, Killa Pardi. Despite the tough match all throughout, a timely 3-pointer by Pransubhai helped us secure our place in the quarter-finals with a narrow margin of 10-09. After our second match, the day was called-off.

We had our quarter-finals match against Shreeya Devi School, Surat on 10th October at 7:30 am. It was going to be a tough match with each team trying to secure their place in the semi-finals. But the rain of 3-pointers from the opponents secured their place in the semi-finals. We lost the game with the scoreboard reading 20-07.

On 11th October, the award distribution ceremony took place in which our U-17 team players received their medals and certificates. It was the first time in our school’s history that we secured a medal in basketball at CBSE Clusters tournament. After the award-distribution ceremony, all the winners and runners-up congratulated each other and the tournament was officially brought to a close.

It was a great learning experience for all the players. The 4 days were packed with full enthusiasm, competition and learning opportunities for all students involved.

Congratulations to all the players and the coaches.

To add to our great fortune, Pujya Suhradswamiji had arranged for both the teams to stay at Haridham during the competition. As soon as the teams arrived at Haridham, they had darshan of Param Pujya Hariprasadswamiji Maharaj at the GyanYagna Deri. Next, they received some precious words of spiritual wisdom by Pujya Brahmvihariswamiji at Yogi Ashram. He gave an amazing discourse on the essence of Atmiyata.

After having registered and reported at the American School of Baroda, the students returned to Haridham where another auspicious event was waiting for them. All the players attended the evening sabha held at Yogi Prarthana Hall on the occasion of Dashera, the Paarshadi Diksha Din of Param Pujya Swamishree and Pujya Premswamiji. They were indeed very privileged to receive blessings of Swamishre. On top of this, the students were immensely blessed to then personally meet with and have darshan of Swamishree at Anirdesh.

Moreover, the students were in constant touch Pujya Suhradswamiji and Pujya Prabodhswamiji throughout their stay at Haridham. In the mornings, the teams would attend the Aarti that added a great deal to their energy. Every afternoon, before starting the journey to the American School of Baroda, the venue of the tournament, the teams performed Dhun at the Deri. This also significantly boosted the teams’ spirit and enthusiasm. The stay at Haridham and the divine experiences added to the value and preciousness of the event and the medals.

Reported by: Dhrumil Patel, Harshil Patel, Pransu Patel, Tirth Jadvani (Class 11)