Preston Street participated in the EPSSA basketball competition at the Crags Sports Centre in January 2018.
A team of 7 boys and 5 girls represented the school in group matches against teams from Duddingston, Buckstone and Bonaly, while another four teams competed on the opposite court.
This year, the format was changed from 5 v 5, as in previous years, to 4 v 4. This resulted in more space on court and a greater number of baskets as a result. Each team consists of twelve players. Six players play in the first half of each match (four starters plus two substitutes who come on halfway through) and the remaining six players play in the second half. There must be at least one boy and one girl on court at all times. These rules ensure that everyone receives playing time, and also mean that one ‘star’ player cannot stay on for a whole game, which can sometimes lead to an imbalance.
As always, the matches were very competitive throughout – we have participated in this event since 2015 and the standard is definitely increasing each year.
Our first match saw us play Duddingston PS, who are always a very strong side. This was a tremendously entertaining encounter where the action went from end to end throughout. With Preston Street ahead 5-0 in the early stages, Duddingston then came from behind to lead 13-7, before a late rally from Preston Street saw us fall just short, with the game ending up 13-12 in favour of Duddingston.
The second match was played against Buckstone PS, who also proved to be tough opponents with some excellent individual players. Again, the match was very close and the lead changed hands several times before things ended up 18-14 in favour of Buckstone.
These results meant that we could no longer qualify for the finals. However, the players responded magnificently in the final game, finishing the afternoon with a 22-9 victory over a spirited Bonaly side.
While the players were disappointed not to make the finals, on reflection they should be proud of their performance. The effort they put in, both in preparing for the tournament and on the afternoon itself, paid off with a strong showing in all three games. On another day we might well have qualified for the finals – and for many of our pupils, there will indeed be ‘another day’ next year, with half of the team being in P5 and P6, and many other talented young players in the P4-6 age range who will be able to participate in 2019.
Meanwhile, basketball at Preston Street continues to develop across our three clubs (P4-7, girls’ development and P1-3), along with the many of our pupils who participate in out-of-school basketball at the Crags Sports Centre or with Blaze.
Congratulations to Duddingston and Buckstone, along with the qualifiers on the other court from Broughton and Liberton, who proceed to the finals which take place in March. Thanks are also due to Beth Walker from EPSSA, and her team of referees and volunteers who ensured things ran smoothly on the day – we are very lucky to be provided with so many fantastic opportunities to compete and perform in sporting events.
Well done to our players:
P5 – Tasha
P6 – Sorley, Abdul, Joshua, Robert, Finlay
P7 – Pedro, Taekyoung, Emma, Grace, Natasha, Lina