Head, Heart and Hand appropriately represents what lies ahead for Mawuli Senior High School ahead of the 2017 Sprite Ball Championship; Ghana’s biggest and best high school basketball tournament. Head –stands for academic excellence, Heart-giving back to the community and Hand-self sufficiency, the coed second cycle institution gate crashed the party in 2016 by qualifying ahead of regional powerhouse Keta Senior High School to the main championship.
Joining force with little known Kadjebi-Asato, dominant sides including Keta and its bitter rival Keta Business College, were denied the chance to feature in the tournament. The herculean achievement was one, only the first senior high school established in the then British-Togoland (now Volta Region in Ghana) could achieve. After a long absence from competing in one of West Africa’s best juvenile tournaments, Mawuli’s return was however met with a baptism of fire in the opening game of the competition.
The side got paired in Group A with Accra Academy, 2013 silver medalist Koforidua Senior High Technical School and four time winners Mfantsipim School. A tough draw for the young side to be drawn in the same group with experienced players with prior playing time in the tournament got exposed in the first game against Mfantsipim School. Mawuli got hammered 18-43 with Mfantsipim duo Kofi Aboagye Acheampong (High School Male Player of the Year nominee at the 2016 Ghana Basketball Awards) and Phixon Owoo dominating on both ends of the court.
The second game proved to be another loss for the side when matched up against Koforidua to exit the competition. However, a glimpse of hope was offered in the third and final game for Mawuli as the side recorded its first win in the tournament with a 16-7 triumph over Accra Academy. The latter school will later go down as one of the worst performers in the history of the competition by going down 1-18.
Guard Kodjo Dickson’s inspired play through three games in the tournament means Mawuli has one of the young studs to look out in the future not necessarily Sprite Ball but tertiary institutions and Ghana as a country. Dickson’s play and excellent court vision was only undone by the superior talent his side faced in the tournament and the lack of finishing from his mates when put clear in prime scoring positions. But Mawuli’s young side can take heart from the performances against former medalist particularly in the win against Accra Academy and build on the momentum to create the next dynasty from the Volta Region.
Unlike its rival Kadjebi-Asato, that has successfully fielded sides from both sexes in the main competition, Mawuli’s ladies team is yet to feature in the highly lauded competition. Tiny steps have grown into major leaps over the years particularly with Sprite Ball as novice sides only a few years ago like Aggrey Memorial Mount Zion School have grown into powerhouses in recent years.
Thus Mawuli’s performances at January, 2016’s edition should be looked at as building blocks for something great.