Eastwood Girls Excel in Essex Competition

Last Wednesday the U14 basketball team went to the South County Girls Basketball Finals, held at St. Martins School. This was our first entry as a school and from our experiences in the Essex cup we knew we would face stiff competition from the Chelmsford schools. Filled with yr 7’s, 8’s and 9’s we were looking forward to the day.

For most of the girls who do not compete outside of school it was their first experience in a basketball tournament. Our first game was against Gateway Academy, a team from Thurrock. The first game resulted in a convincing victory, with Eastwood laying down their intent early on, the game finished  31 – 6. With standout performances from Jess Smith and Lucy Brown at the free throw line.

In the second game we met St. Martins, a very tall, athletic, disciplined side who we knew would be hard to beat. With endeavour and spirit we competed for every rebound and contested for every possession. It was a fantastic performance by the girls, but unfortunately we were beaten by some excellent collective talent and lost the game 24 points to 13.

Coming into our third and final match, we were only too aware that victory would place us as runners in the tournament. However a very composed Shenfield were our opposition and were in the exact same position. It all came down to this game!

We started positively, the girls battling and scrapping for everything. Sharna Willis (who had been placed in the starting line up for the first time, ever!) was amazing, hustling their players and winning big offensive and defensive rebounds (unexpected inspiration by Mr Pearl). We worked hard but despite our best efforts we still came in at half time losing 7 points to 12. With a 5 point deficit to make up the second half was going to require some big key players to perform. Step up Lucy Brown, Jess Smith and Jess Bailey. All three girls were fantastic, they typified the true power of resilience and commitment and within the 3 minutes we were 1 point up!. Over the next 4 minutes the scores edged each other they led, then we led, then they led again. As the clock counted down I couldn’t stand to watch, whereas Mr Pearl was leisurely leaning against the wall and with his arms folded he said ‘ this is what it’s all about Miss’. He was right, with 8 seconds to go, I was going red in the face screaming at Jess bailey to hold the ball as we were in the lead by a single point. The buzzer sounded and we had secured second place. A fantastic feeling for both players and coaches.

This has been the girls first major basketball honour. Three years ago they started training, not able to bounce a ball and now they were competing and beating schools revered in the county as one of the ‘basketball greats’. It was a very proud moment.

With an Essex cup final and a borough title still a possibility, it is shaping up to be a really fantastic season for the girls.

At  this point the girls and I would like to say a huge thank you to Mr Pearl who has continually supported all of the girls teams. He has given up countless hours refereeing games for both home and away fixtures only to be rewarded with hours of my chatting and rush hour traffic! Thank you Mr Pearl, you are a star!

Please congratulate the girls when you see them, I know they would greatly appreciate it.

Jessica Bailey

Lucy Brown

Jess Smith

Sharna Willis

Chelsea Stephens

Michaela Brown

Seanie Harvey

Karis Allibon

Grace Livermore

Asheligh Searle


Miss Gusthuff

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