The Sprite Ball Championship is an exciting tournament but there are few squads that take ‘spectacle’ to avoid a whole new level.
It’s true that having fun won’t always equate to wins, but at the same time, finding success and providing entertainment aren’t mutually exclusive. Some of the entertaining teams are annually among the best and the 2014 edition of the hugely-respected tournament should prove to be no different.
But whether a team is winning or losing, sometimes all we need is a high-scoring offense to grab our attention. Alley-oops and above-the-rim finishes only scratch the surface, as clutch play and transition buckets get our hearts racing and our rear ends out of our seats.
The Sprite Ball is where amazing happens, and a handful of teams will epitomize that throughout the 2014 campaign.
It’s a matter of fact that most iconic figures at the senior high level will be missing in action after completing school but the tournament has never been bereft of emerging talents who will stoke up fire to create amazing scenes at the Aviation Social Centre.
BASKETBALLghana.com look at the five male schools that could once again lit up the fans during the 2014 edition of the Sprite Ball Championship.
Mfantsipim, Cape Coast
Without a shred of doubt, the best team in the competition, Mfantsipim School have been out of this world as far as the game at the Senior High level is concerned.
With an enviable record to their stock, the Cape Coast-based school are gradually losing track of the number of titles they’ve won both at the regional and national level.
With a basketball CV that any team would be proud of, Mfantsipim are simply born winners.
Six titles in total is no mean achievement and Mfantsipim will go into the competition as the odd-on favourite to clinch their fourth consecutive national title in four years.
Their energy, passion and work ethics cannot be flawed.
Even without a number of their key players, coach Francis Kumatia’s roster is teeming with depth, length, strength and plain hard-to-guard talent that actually managed to overshoot the worst fears of some doubters during the six-game winning run en route to be crowned champions in January this year.
They head into the championship as the irresistible favourite to clinch the title in the capital but would have to guard against complacency if they are to lift their third consecutive title.
But that could be difficult this term considering the fact they have lost majority of their first team players. The likes of Julian Morgan, David Akuffo and co have gained admission to various tertiary institutions and can therefore only participate as mere spectators.
However they have an enviable track record of unearthing mushrooming talents and could pull another trigger. We just have to wait and see!
Koforidia Secondary and Technical School, Koforidua
Dangerous floater is probably the best way to describe Koforidua Secondary Technical School.
They came so close in 2013, losing the final to Mfantsipim in a nerve racking and swelter-colding final in front of a packed crowd.
They will however take solace in the fact that dangerman Emmanuel Wolff is still lurking around and will be the man to finally help them to stop the impregnability of Mfantsipim hand them the trophy which has remained elusive for years.
The former student of Abuakwa State Colleges was the tormentor-in-chief with swash-buckling performances
This roaster thanks in part to the departures of absence of seasoned big players like Emmanuel Ekow Amoako, lacks the depth and know-how of the KSTS squad that racked up gold in the Eastern Regional Championship three years ago.
But having been there and tasted top-flight action over the past few years, KSTS will be one of the side’s to beat.
Keta Senior High, Keta
No-one can question Ketasco’s credentials. It has the talent, experience and expertise in the Sprite Ball Championship.
The Volta Regional-based school have flattered to deceive at the national level over the past four years.
Their ability play in three finals, speaks volumes of their pedigree and surely one of the sure bet to fight for the title.
The Keta team are certainly due after a few close calls against Mfantsipim in 2010 and 2011 but their controversial semi-final defeat to the Cape Coast-based continue to linger on the minds of many crazy fans.
They have also been decimated by the departure of key players including Flavio and Mawuli Dogbe but that could prove little in their quest to wrestle the title from Mfantsipim.
Is the silver medal favourite healthy enough to take advantage of its size to edge team Mfantsipim? Do the Ketasco have enough shooting to space floor around the bigs? Those are legitimate questions
Prempeh College, Kumasi
Outside Keta Senior High School, no team worries Mfantsipim more than Kumasi-based Prempeh College.
Prempeh have secured qualification to next year’s finals after beating sworn rivals Opoku Ware in a round-robin format in the Ashanti regional capital.
It will however be fair to say that Koforidua Secondary Technical School’s semi-final contest against Mfantsipim still goes down in the history books as arguably the most exciting contest witnessed so far.
May be the 2013 contest between Mfantsipim and Ketasco could surpass that challenge – a raging argument that will continue to dominate the major talking points ahead of the crunch tournament.
That notwithstanding, Prempeh have shown discipline on the court, finding themselves in the medal zone over the past two years, is no small achievement.
Although depth and size are issues, I’m not going to be the guy who writes off a group that when you have names like Bernard Ofori and George Forson next, their coach’s demands respect at this level.
Ghana secondary and Technical School, Sekondi-Takoradi
GSTS have chopped off the place occupied by Presbyterian Boys’ Senior High school due to their improved performances over the years.
Even without chief architect Sydney Larbie, the giants of the West have proved beyond all reasonable doubt that they are among the top-four finishers as far as the competition is concerned.
GSTS is now regarded as feared wild card in the competition, even more than Achimota and Akosombo International School if you buy into the pre-tournament chatter.
Their coach has been one of the most respected coaches, blessed with the ability of his current squad to trot out sizes everywhere you look on the floor.
They won the maiden edition of the Sprite Ball Championship in the Western region in 2009 and have since risen steadily on the podium.
Do you agree with our top five schools to watch for? If not please tell us which of the teams you fancy will either do well or win the tournament in January 2014.
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