Through the carousel of high schools that have lit the competition through the years, St. Thomas Aquinas Senior High School is certainly one of them. The school has checked in and out of the competition but has always done so in style.
Playing in Ghana’s biggest and one of West Africa’s biggest high school basketball competitions, Aquinas, like so many others, take pride in competing at the highest level before the adoration of fans all over the country.
The all Catholic boys school which turned 64 in February this year, oozes with simplicity from its obscure yet prime location in the serene environs of Cantonments in Accra to the famous motto, “Veritas Liberat” meaning “The truth shall set you free”. Its basketball fortunes are no different as the school’s basketball prowess is delivered in simple ways by the outstanding talent the program has churned out over the years.
Shooting Guards Farahat Tamimu Aliu and Amos Ollenu Ashietey readily come to mind. The former made his debut in the competition in 2010 and proceeded to vow fans with his top marksmanship from distance as his famous shooting stroke became one of the most talked about happenings at the event.
Steeled by the pressure and toughness that comes with playing in one of the biggest basketball competitions in Ghana, Tamimu became practically unstoppable at the tertiary level with Accra Polytechnic as he led the side to win multiple titles.
Winning the 2015 Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges (UPAC) Basketball Championship and West Africa Polytechnic Games among others came in earnest. Fast Forward six years and the ninth edition of Sprite Ball at El-Wak Stadium had been turned into one gigantic choir singing choruses of “Ollenu”.
The lanky Guard with incredible bounce set the competition on fire with dead eye shooting beyond the arc as he almost single handedly willed Aquinas to the quarter finals before falling at the hands of Mfanstipim School.
His rise was to prominence was pretty much destined as observers of the Greater Accra regional qualifiers got a first look at the offensive juggernaut. After leading Aquinas to the main championship all the while showing off dazzling moves, the team got paired in Group C alongside two time bronze medalist Opoku Ware School, Aggrey Memorial Mount Zion and Ghana Secondary Technical School (G.S.T.S.). Claiming wins over Aggrey and G.S.T.S., Aquinas made it out of the group in second place before falling 14-18 to finalist Mfantsipim. However, the early exit did not stop fans from voting Ollenu as their Favorite Player of the Tournament earning the soft spoken slim reaper a ticket to South Africa.
With next year’s edition around the corner (in January), Aquinas will be one of the top sides to make a major statement in the competition.