Spirit of St. Louis

Bouncing Back!

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Mr. Bell leads a team-talk, as the ‘tifosi’ look on, during the match against the American School

Edoardo S, Year 8 Captain, reflects on a successful first season
for the Middle School Basketball Team.

A strange phenomenon is sweeping the roof at Via Caviglia, every break-time…
students are swapping the goal posts of the football pitches in exchange for the
hoops of the basketball court. For those dreaming of careers in the NBA or Serie A, the
Middle School Basketball Squad is the first port of call on the long road to glory…

On the 30th of January, 2018, the St. Louis Basketball Team warmed-up in the gym at Via
Caviglia, dressed in their red jerseys. It was the evening of their second match and there
was a lot of tension…

Earlier in the term, the team had suffered a heavy defeat in their inaugural match against
the American School of Milan (the first ever fixture in the team’s history). Cheered-on by
parents and staff, they lined-up confidently but unsure of what to expect. “The 58-4 defeat
seemed like a huge loss”, Liliano D, a Year 7 teammate explains. “But the American
School’s side mainly included much taller boys from Year 9”. St. Louis had fought hard, encouraged by expert advice from Head Coach, Mr. Bell. In the end, all their energy and
movement was no match for the height of their opponents…

So, fast forward to Match 2 and St. Louis were determined to ‘go hard’ against the British
School and this is exactly what they did, destroying their opponents by recording a huge
points win. Edoardo G, the vice-captain of the team, explains: “I think the team
played wonderfully during that match. It was amazing to see St. Louis win their first ever
game and it certainly gave us the motivation we needed to improve”. St. Louis surely ‘went
big’ against their opponents to recover from the mistakes made in the previous game and
credit has to go to the teammates for sticking together.

The team had to learn the basics of the game quickly because a few weeks later they
entered their first tournament in Milan, which included… The American School! The
tournament started very early in the morning at ASM, so the team had to wake up between
5 and 6 am, before having a small breakfast. The squad was also missing a number of key
players, so things weren’t looking good. They were up against strong opposition in the
American School’s ‘A’ and ‘B’ squads, The British School and The German School. Again,
the coaches’ advice helped them prepare and before the first fixture they were ready for
action.

St. Louis performed amazingly well against ASM ‘A’ and The British School, winning their
first two fixtures comfortably. Of course this meant one thing- a rematch against American
‘B’ in the grand final…

Meeting the American School in the final felt strange: we were a different team but they
still towered above us. Edoardo G points out just how big the challenge really was:
“We were obviously missing some key players, so playing in four meant that we didn’t
have the luxury of substitutes but everyone put their maximum effort into the games, so
after the group games we were very tired.” At the end of the second quarter the score was
so close at only 16-18 to the Americans. The speed of the match was very quick- the
teams ran from one end of the court to the other and towards the end everyone was
sweating. With no substitutes on the bench, the four St. Louis players battled bravely.
Eventually, the American School became champions with a 22-51 victory but for a young
St. Louis side this was a great success.

We hope that St. Louis will continue to show aggression and teamwork in next season’s
fixtures. I, as the team captain, think that our team has all the potential to win the
championship, even against giants, if we don’t show fear. Most of us play in other teams at
a competitive level. Therefore, I have one message for the team: St. Louis, we can do this!

The St. Louis Middle School 2017/18 roster includes: Edoardo S (Capt.), Edoardo
G (Vice), Liliano D, Davis N, Daniel N, Francesco M, Andrea
N, Giacomo C, Ginevra S, Sofia Z, Giorgio G, Nikita
M and Guido T.

Edoardo S currently plays as a playmaker for Team Soul Basket, in Milan. He
began playing basketball at the age of 6. His advice for students new to the game?
“Basketball is a great sport for any beginner because all you need is a good pair of shoes-
no expensive equipment. You learn coordination, different movements and plays but also
how to read situations during a game. Being tall is obviously an advantage in both defense
and attack but smaller players are often very skillful.

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