On Tuesday, West Walton-based Marshland High School’s Under 14s District and Norfolk County Champions travelled to Spalding Grammar School for the first regional round of the National Schools basketball competition.
To qualify for the next round they had to beat both the Lincolnshire county champions, Spalding Grammar School, and the Nottinghamshire champions, Arnold High School.
The team have been training very hard for the biggest fixture in their young basketball careers, and were confident of a positive result due to having never lost a match in the Marshland orange.
First they took on Arnold Hill Academy, and started nervously particularly on offence and at half time the score was 4-2. In the second half the team settled down and continued their good defensive work and gained confidence at the other end, and the final score was 16-8 against a strong team from Nottingham. Donatas Verikas scored eight points, with Marcus Holt and Jaden Carter getting four each.
The second game was against a much stronger Spalding Grammar School, who beat Arnold High earlier in the evening, so it was a “winner take all” match.
This time there were no nerves and Marshland played to a very high standard, the work they’d put in during training was evident on court and they scored some fantastic team baskets, with brilliant passing and movement across the court. By half-time the job was all but done, taking an 18-2 lead after a supremely impressive display as a team.
In the second half the team rotated to give everyone deserved court time and the score finished 24-4. Superstar Dontatas Verikas showed just how special a player he is throughout the match leading the team, scoring 16 points and marking their best player out of the game. The rest of the points came from captain Marcus Holt, Jaden Carter and Frankie Wright. Every player had a massive impact on both games and players of the matches were not awarded to reflect this.
Marshland now move on to the last 16 of the competition and will face the Warwickshire champions, Alcester Grammar School.
This is a special and outstanding achievement for the team to be the best team in the whole of three counties and to be in the last 16 of a national competition.
Teacher in charge of basketball, Mr Stannard said, “The team and the school should be extremely proud, I certainly am. It was amazing to watch these extremely talented boys perform to such a high level.”
Squad: Marcus Holt, Donatas Verikas, Jaden Carter, Frankie Wright, Pawel Kaluzny, Ryan Jackson, Jordan Adebesi, Kristers Skribans and Ant Siguardson.