Last weekend, Eton College hosted its first internal basketball tournament since 2019. Set up by pupils Marco B, Alexander C, Julius C and Nicholas C, the tournament aimed to raise money for charity, whilst also providing avid basketball fans and players alike the opportunity to showcase their skills in the Athens sports hall. The tournament operated in a 3v3 Cup and Plate format, in total raising over £250 for UNICEF’s work in Ukraine.
As a participant myself, it was fair to say the atmosphere in Athens was electric. Dozens of pupils could be seen getting some pre-game shots up and rehearsing set plays and tactics. Personally, I just told my two team-mates to ‘give it their best’ and explained the basics of the pick-and-roll, not daring to overcomplicate our strategy any further than that!
15 boarding Houses participated overall, with the winners of the first round matchups entering the quarter finals of the ‘Cup’ competition (one House had a bye), and the losers entering the quarter finals of the ‘Plate’ competition.
Throughout the tournament, matches were played with a high level of intensity: seven minutes of continuous basketball in a half-court setting meant that each game proved to be physically demanding and competitive.
It is also important to note that shots inside of the arc counted for 1 point rather than 2, and shots outside the arc counted for 2 points rather than 3. In the Cup competition, BJH were the eventual winners, beating JCAJ in the final, whilst in the Plate, SPH prevailed over HJRM.
For my House, proceedings began with a disappointing 3-2 loss at the hands of a defensively sound PGW side, meaning that we fell to the Plate competition. In the quarter finals, we met HWTA, who we convincingly beat 7-2 after I fired in a barrage of jump shots from behind the arc (that were not lucky at all).
Unfortunately, our downfall came in the form of a semi-final matchup with eventual Plate winners SPH. Although I cashed in two more long-range shots, giving us a 4-3 lead as the final seconds ticked down. A last second buzzer-beater from Lukas L (SPH) tied the game and sent it to sudden-death overtime, where we were unable to score and eventually lost 5-4, bringing an end to our dreams of capturing the Plate.
Overall, the day was a great success, run with notable efficiency by pupil volunteers and with remarkably high level basketball being played, a testament to the underlying love for the sport held by a wide number of Etonians.
I have no doubt that should another opportunity for an inter-House basketball tournament arise, I will be entering immediately, as will those who played last Sunday, I’m sure.