In a nail-biting final that had the ACG Parnell supporters on the edge of their seats, the school’s Junior Boys Basketball Team triumphed over Western Springs College, securing a thrilling 61-57 victory in the final of the Basketball New Zealand Junior Premiership Zone 1 Tournament for A Grade.
A remarkable win
Held during the annual School Sport New Zealand Secondary School’s Winter Tournament week, this was the second year ACG Parnell has entered the event and the first-place finish is a remarkable improvement on 2022’s 14th place.
ACG Parnell Principal, Mr Damian Watson, who witnessed the thrilling contest, commented on the team’s remarkable performance, stating, “The final was as tense and exciting a sporting fixture as you will ever see, and it was great to see the boys maintain their composure under intense pressure to prevail 61-57 and take out the Premiership.”
ACG Parnell’s path to the final
Their path to victory was marked by an unblemished record throughout the tournament. They showcased their basketball prowess by defeating Rosmini, St Paul’s, and Green Bay High School in the group stage. Their relentless pursuit of excellence continued as they conquered Tauraroa in the Quarter Finals and Onehunga High School in the Semi-Finals, before meeting their match in Western Springs in the grand-final.
Vocal fans fuel success
Undoubtedly, the resounding success of the team was fuelled not only by their skill, but also by the dedicated support of their vocal and enthusiastic fans, which Mr Watson acknowledged as a crucial factor.
“They were certainly spurred on to victory by the group of vocal and enthusiastic supporters who attended matches over the course of the four-day tournament, and who were in turn rewarded with a fine display of teamwork, skill, and whole-hearted commitment.”
Head Coach Yaran Ghassemi, the driving force behind this team’s success, also acknowledged the teams’ support system.
“I would like to show my appreciation and gratitude to Steph Trowill (ACG Parnell Sports Coordinator) and the parents of the students in this team. Thank you for the trust and ongoing support; without you all, there would be no success.”
Dedication and teamwork – the winning recipe
Yaran, who joined ACG Parnell as Head Coach at the start of this year, was thrilled with the final outcome, and expressed profound pride in his players.
“As coach of this team, I can say I am immensely proud of the commitment, sacrifice and motivation shown by every member of the team.
He further emphasised, “The most pleasing aspect of the tournament was seeing the quality leadership, loyalty, and how well the team worked together naturally. The team trained hard leading into the tournament and most importantly, bonded as a team to create the utmost trust in one another which led to a great end result.”
Basketball’s growing popularity
Beyond the victory, this achievement shines a spotlight on the rapid growth of basketball within the ACG Parnell community.
“Basketball is exploding in popularity at ACG Parnell, and with results like this, our program is well-placed for growth in the future in both participation and performance,” said Mr Watson.
Team: Minh Dau, Kevin Li, Aiden Cen, Alan Kazhenov, Eric Zhang, Samuel Ji, Daniel Zhu, David Dong, Eric Liu, Josh Huang, Joshua Jiang, Ivan loke