Armed Forces Secondary Technical School and Sacred Hearts Girls redrafted history by lifting the trophy in the grand finale of the 2009 Sprite Ball Championship in their respective divisions at the El-Wak Stadium over the weekend.
The Burma camp based side which placed third in the Greater Accra regional qualifiers put up a bolt from the blue performance in the two-day tournament at the citadel of basketball in Accra beating highly fancied schools like Pope John, Opoku Ware School and Mfanstipim enroute to the final before they scaled the hurdle against Volta regional champions Keta Senior High 19-11 in a highly charged game.
Armed Forces produced the performance of the two-day competition by putting up a come back from behind display to beat Central regional champions Mfantsipim at the 1/16th stage. They were down 17-6 at the end of the first half but fought back strongly to narrowly beat the Cape Coast based school 18-17 to the admiration of the dignitaries and thousands of crazy basketball fans who thronged the venue.
The 2009 grand finale of the Sprite Ball Championship will go into the history books as the most keenly contested tournament to date – an indication that the game has improved tremendously since it inception four years ago.
Keta Senior High will rue the lost opportunity after they lost yet another final in a heartbreaking manner. Ketasco missed the opportunity to dethrone champions Achimota Senior Highin last year’s finals and Sunday’s defeat to Armed Forces was ego battering and shattering for the Keta based school.
Meanwhile Sacred Hearts Girls are basking in the glory after a sterling performance at the weekend. The James Town based side recorded a sweet revenge over defending champions Wesley Girls High School at the semi-final stage beating the Cape Coast based school 19-12 to make for last season’s final defeat to the same side.
They also manage to beat western regional rivals Arch Bishop Porter Girls at the 1/16th stage before seeing off Central regional champions Aggrey Memorial in a one -sided game 21- 9 at the El-Wak stadium.
However they will take consolation in the fact their debut appearance has earned them rave reviews in the West African country and should buoy them for the fifth edition of the tournament next year.
Meanwhile Koforidua Secondary Technical School (K.S.T.S) won bronze in the boys division after they beat bronze medalist from the Ashanti region Opoku Ware School while Wesley Girls also took the third spot following their triumph over Insaanya School in the third and fourth place match.
The performances from the schools that qualified for the knockout stages excited the dignitaries who graced the occasion including the Special Guest of Honour, Ga Mantse, His Majesty King Tackie Tawiah III, Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, Nii Nortey Duah, Chairman of the Ghana Basketball Association, David Addo Ashong, representatives from headline sponsors, Sprite and officials of the Ghana Education Service amongst others.
Dozens of international scouts from the United States of America and other parts of Europe flocked the venue to monitor players who excelled individually for a possible stint with a with an European basketball team.
The two-day basketball fiesta produced an array of blistering basketball performances from the forty-four (44) schools spread across six regions and has left a huge imprint in the minds of the fans who witnessed the games.
Sprite Ball Championship 2009 was brought to you by Sprite, Sprite your thirst, and co-sponsored by Indomie Noodles- tastes great, EFPAC-blows your pain away, Latex Foam , Your partner for life , with support from Ink it, TV Africa, Joy FM, 90 Minutes Newspaper, Ghana News Agency, Rock FM, Radio Xtacy and produced by Rite Multimedia, leaders in Basketball Development in Ghana.