Plate Final Preview
U19 Boys GCS Griffins vs. Raffles World Academy
Monday, November 28th at Greenfield Community School
Two seasons ago Greenfield Community School registered a fairly ordinary season, they won a couple of games and 5th place in the lowest division (4) of the DASSA League (Dubai Schools). A 3rd place ranking in the Taaleem tournament proceeded this. A group of players were offered a choice, stay as we are or commit to something more. This meant more practice, more discipline and effectively more effort. This group of young men committed and stepped up. After 2 years of hard work the same group of players now sit in the DASSA Plate Final, the equivalent to the 2nd division championship game, they are also the current holders of the Taaleem Championship. It seems only fitting that this upcoming Monday’s matchup will take the team back to where it all began. Two years ago GCS played their first game of the revolution against Raffles World Academy and lost by 40 points, so much has changed since then and come Monday it will be the GCS Griffins with the home court advantage and ready to see how far they have come.
U16 Plate Final Report
U16 Boys GCS Griffins vs. Dubai International Academy
Wednesday, November 23rd at Greenfield Community School
The success of the older age group inspired a group of Grade 7’s and the second wave of GCS basketball success was born. A mid table finish in 2014 was followed up by winning their local division 4 in 2015 as U14’s. Unfortunately a shortened season the team never got their chance to test themselves on the wider stage. In 2016 the team moved up to the U16 level, but with 10 U15 players it was set to be a tough season.
2016 arrived and a new league format was introduced. A geographical seeding system gave GCS the chance to see how far they could go. A tough draw put them into a league with Dubai sports powerhouses Dubai College and Dubai International Academy. A season opener against Dubai College meant for a rocky start to the season as they struggled to stop the flow of baskets from DC. Returning back to GCS the boys were able to lift themselves to 3 back to back victories against Raffles International, DBS and DIA put the boys in with a chance of making the Division 1 Play-offs (Cup). A tough loss away at Dubai College was a heartbreaking loss for the team. A moment of reflection reminded the team of how far they had come and they still had the opportunity of silverware ahead of them, a Division 2 (Plate) title would still be a significant improvement on their previous Division 4 crown.
The road to the final was a tough one, but home court advantage seemed to give the team the edge. 2 narrow victories against JBS and Sunmarke brought them to the final game against rivals DIA. Their first league encounter had been a scrappy affair and a 4 point win for GCS didn’t point to either team being a dominant force. The final was always going to close but no one could have predicted how close it would be. GCS’s trademark defence caused major issues for the DIA offence, keeping the score low and some outstanding free throw shooting from Kamran Mustafayez and Emile Al Azar kept GCS close throughout. Outstanding bench performances from Amir Nourian, Arryaan Wadiwalla and Yousef Khoori were what was needed as GCS held DIA to 15 points in the first 3, whilst Pedro Carmona provided his unique brand of intensity to ensure the Griffins hallmark defence was always there.
1st quarter – GCS 5 – DIA 2
2nd quarter – GCS 9 – DIA 11
3rd quarter – GCS 13 – DIA -15
The game went backwards and forwards for the first 3 quarters, with Mustafa Khan and team captain Omar Maslamani pushing on the offensive end, it felt like the game was waiting for one team to take control. It was a long wait. A strong worded team talk at the 3rd quarter break gave the boys the final push they needed to take control. With GCS big man Philip E Silva needing a moment it was up to Sheryas Pingle to hold the centre of the Griffin defence. What followed was 8 unanswered points and with the return of Philip it gave GCS the advantage. Anthony Gerges took the leading position as point guard to steady the ship and the 6th man (the crowd) gave the team that final push they needed to make a little history, but with 2 minutes still left on the clock there was still a lot to do. DIA retaliated with a lay-up and a GCS foul gave DIA another 1. Now a 3 point advantage to GCS, 1 minute left. GCS would never get the ball into their half again, as DIA threw up 5 shots in a minute trying to tie the score. As the 5th attempt flew through the air the buzzer fired and as it bounced out of the ring GCS has secured their highest ever placing.
Final Score GCS 23 – DIA 20.
Contributed by: Matt Christensen
Athletic Directory & CAS Coordinator