Celebrations that marked the end of the 2016 Sprite Ball High School Basketball Championship Girls Final between Aggrey Memorial Mount Zion High School and Accra Wesley Girls High School offered a glimpse of what hoisting the Holy Grail meant.
Lagging behind power houses Wesley Girls High School (Cape-Coast) and Holy Child College, Aggrey Memorial committed resources to catch up and eventually overtake their then accomplished contemporaries. But the road was far from rosy as the team’s quest for immortality was cut short three times in heartbreaking fashion.
So with all that misery and painful losses in mind, rallying from a 0-6 deficit early in the game to win 9-8 an enthralling game, sparked wild jubilation from the mauve and yellow entourage who had endured three straight finals losses in the competition.
Coaches Prince Adarkwah and Alfred Davies bellowed into the clear sky with unbridled delight as Joana Danso, a member of the fallen sides of the past could not hold back the tears as she finally landed her hands on the glittering trophy.
The win was more special for the team leader as it was her final year of playing in the tourney alongside fellow mainstay Julian Cudjoe.
As such, Aggrey joined an exclusive club in the female division as one of only three schools to win multiple championships with Kumasi-based T.I. Ahmadiyya and Accra-based Sacred Heart High School. However, coupled with five finals appearances, Aggrey is the most successful female side in the competition.
Team accolades have been abundant over the years as has individual accolades with Danso earning High School Female Player of the Year nominations at the Ghana Basketball Awards in 2015 and 2016. Teammate Cudjoe went a step further as she was named this year’s High School Female Player of the Year and the side unsurprisingly trumping the competition to win Female High School Team of the Year.
This year’s Tertiary and overall Most Valuable Female Player of the Year winner Matilda Gordon is a proud alumni of the school after leading the charge to the school’s maiden title; she is also a former High School winner at the Awards bagging the top prize in 2013. Gordon’s place among the greats of the game in Ghana is unquestioned as her sublime skills ended Aggrey’s winless run at the Championship and kick starting what has turned out to be a brilliant young career thus far.
It is however shocking the man at the helm for all the achievements Prince Adarkwah is yet to be named Coach of the Year at the Basketball Awards. In order to ensure sustained success, Rev. Franklin Boadu Headmaster of the school has established a sports endowment fund to take care of the huge cost of running such an elite program. But enough with the girls and shifting focus onto the guys because Aggrey is one of Ghana’s top mixed schools that is currently constructing an elite force in the boys division to challenge great rivals like St.Augustine’s College and Mfantsipim School.
For the first time, the school’s male basketball team qualified out of the Central Region to debut at the main games in Accra this year.
The novices gave a good account of their talent with impressive displays against experienced rosters including that of St.Thomas Aquinas before bowing out of the preliminary stage.
The ladies have shown the climb up the mountain comes with loads of struggle but with the urge to press and make a name as the school’s anthem says, Aggrey’s stay in the palatial realm will have two teams compete in multiple fronts.