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Medals for Marshland High School basketball stars after finals of Junior NBA competition

Young basketball players were celebrating after their respective teams won bronze and silver in a national tournament.

Marshland High School’s Year 7 and 8 teams were both taking part in the finals of the Jr NBA competition, which is styled on America’s National Basketball Association league and organised by Basketball England.

Entrants compete under the names of NBA teams, with Marshland playing this year as the Detroit Pistons.

Basketball players from Marshland High School
Basketball players from Marshland High School

It was the fourth time the school had been involved in the competition, and the two teams had each won all 10 of their league games to secure a place in the finals, which were held at the University of East Anglia Sportspark in Norwich.

The Year 7 side initially lost 42-20 to Wymondham Academy, before winning a play-off against Castle Manor Academy 31-23 to claim bronze in the contest.

Players of the day included Will White, Jack Brazier, and Amiras Lukosevicius, who scored an impressive 39 points and also won the Year 7 Shooting Competition.

Basketball players from Marshland High School
Basketball players from Marshland High School

Dominic Stannard, head of character and culture at Marshland, said: “Wymondham were far bigger than us, which, along with them having only eight, made a huge difference, as their top players could play more often than ours.

“However, we had 13 students playing, which is great in itself. The team did brilliantly to pick themselves up after the first defeat.”

Marshland’s Year 8 team fought an epic battle against Wymondham in their penultimate match, where a hotly contested draw led to extra time.

Mr Stannard added: “This is the best game I’ve ever been involved with.

“At one stage, we were nine points down, but we dug deep, and at the end of the game it was 31-31, so it went to overtime.

“Further grit and determination led to us winning 35-33, to lead to mass celebrations by both our 7s and 8s – tears, collapsing to the floor, and just pure joy and emotion.”

The overall final saw the Marshland Year 8s achieve silver, after meeting defeat at the hands of Gateway Academy from London.

Key players were Donata Mhamabure, George Spittle, Charlie Emery, and Thomas Gooch.

“We came up against an incredible side, who were much bigger, stronger and faster, but we never gave up and defensively got better as the game went on,” said Mr Stannard.

“We lost 53-6, but they were worthy winners, and to take the silver medal was amazing.

“It was an incredible day, and the students performed superbly – the character and effort shown were outstanding.

“The school should be very proud of these two sets of basketball players.

“Just to get to the final four of the whole East is superb; however, we came away with a silver and bronze medal, which is truly punching well above our weight.

“No one will forget the day in a long time – an emotional rollercoaster for all.

“The league truly inspires the pupils at Marshland, and the emotion and celebration after our overtime win is something I’ll never forget.”

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