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Great things come in small packages

ACG Sunderland’s undefeated Year 9 and 10 boys basketball team enjoyed phenomenal success this season, winning every game in the Junior B grade competition.
ACG Sunderland’s Year 9 and 10 boys basketball team

Hard work, dedication and commitment were just a few of the secret weapons ACG Sunderland’s Year 9 and 10 boys basketball team had in their 2021 artillery.

The boys dominated every single game, finishing their season undefeated, and coach Nigel Mahakitau couldn’t be more delighted.

“I am extremely proud of our team’s resilience as they were never the biggest or the most athletic on the court. However, with a combination of skill and teamwork, they were able to overcome some very talented teams,” says Nigel.

Competing in the Junior B grade, the boys infused each game – and practice – with passion and positivity.

“From the early morning trainings to after school, it’s been an honour to watch our students not only develop into good, talented players but also into young men, both on and off the court.”

For team captain Justin Shan it was a thrilling end to “a brilliant season”.

“Completing our season undefeated was amazing and unexpected, but it was also well deserved with all the hard work we put in,” says Justin, who believes their success came down to a combination of factors.

“The fact that we all love basketball so much definitely contributed. It makes it so much easier to train hard when you love the sport! But, as well as that, all the hard work Coach Nigel put in helped us build our individual and team skills. And we had great determination and grit, often going up against teams with more and bigger players.”

A tight-knit group with a shared passion, the boys’ camaraderie carried them through some of their toughest battles.

“We are all friends, and that’s made our on and off-court chemistry great. Having banter and fun helps us play more cohesively as a team. I definitely think our friendships translate into the game.”

And with team manager Kim Pollock supporting them every step of the way, the boys were in the best possible hands.

Says Kim, “I feel really proud of them, we are only a small school compared to the schools they came up against, and they were a small team, but they didn’t let that hold them back. The boys used every opportunity possible to play basketball. If you wanted to find them, you only needed to go down to the basketball courts. They were there every morning tea, and lunchtime – they never missed an opportunity for training!”