The 2023 St John’s College Basketball Tournament, brought to you by MTN, saw 54 teams — more than 600 players — from across South Africa and neighbouring Zimbabwe and Eswatini competing at St John’s College over the mid-term break from 23 to 26 February.
The tournament provided loads of fun for players and spectators, with plenty of court-side action and lots to eat and drink. MTN, our new headline sponsor, provided a chill-out lounge where fans could watch the action in comfort between games.
Basketball is one of the fastest-growing sports in South Africa, and we were delighted to host our 18th edition of this premier schoolboy basketball tournament, which offers our young men the chance to showcase their skills and participate in healthy competition.
All U19 and U15 teams competed in a round-robin before progressing to the knockout stages, while the U13 Prep boys followed a festival format this year. The festival format directs a stronger focus towards the games played, with no playoffs or winners.
The teams from all age groups enjoyed four days of meeting their peers, loads of fast and competitive play, and the weather was kind, providing hot and dry conditions on the courts.
The tournament culminated in the playoffs on Sunday. A nail-biting U19 final saw St Charles College from KwaZulu-Natal facing St David’s Marist Inanda. St Charles College was victorious after a hard-fought 40-36 win, a great victory after they missed out on the final playoff against St Alban’s College last year due to inclement weather. St Benedict’s College placed third.
The U19 All-Star Team of the Tournament awards went to Benson Makenge (St Charles College), Siyanda Radebe (St David’s Marist Inanda), Nyiko Khoza (St Benedict’s College), Njabulo Ngcobo (Kearsney College) and Reetsent Kepadisa (King Edward VII School).
The U19 Most Valuable Player Award went to Storm Gilchrist of St Charles College.
Michael Mount Waldorf School were the unbeaten tournament champions in the U15 category after defeating St John’s College in the final. St Benedict’s College placed third.
The U15 All-Star Team of the Tournament awards went to Liam De Wet (Michael Mount Waldorf School), Ama Ntsubane (St John’s College), Benedict Agommisoh (St Stithians College), Simamukele Vacu (Northwood School) and Carl Flynn (Maritzburg College).
The U15 Most Valuable Player Award went to Luka Amerseder of Michael Mount Waldorf School.
As the U13s played a festival format, there were no overall winners, but awards were presented to teams as voted by their peers. The young men of the Soweto Basketball Academy were awarded the Best Overall Team Spirit. The Best Overall Defensive Team went to Saheti School, which accumulated 55 fouls, and the Best Overall Efficient Team went to St Peter's Boys’ Prep School with a 195-point difference. The Best Overall Represented Team in the age-group category was awarded to the Mangaung Knights.
A new addition to the tournament awards was the MTN Spirit Awards, voted for by the Tournament Technical Officials, which recognised the camaraderie of the boys and their schools. The inaugural winners were the U15s from King Edward VII School and the U19s from Kearsney College.
Tournaments like these would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors. We are proud of our new partnerships with MTN, a proudly South African company that values the diverse sporting codes of our nation.
Mr Charles Molapisi, CEO of MTN South Africa, said: “We believe that sport has the power to unite as it brings people closer to their passion while creating exciting and memorable experiences. The St John’s College Basketball Tournament aligns with this belief and contributes to developing the sport, along with the talented players within South Africa and those across our borders.”
We are also grateful for our ongoing partnership with SuperSport Schools, ensuring that fans across South Africa and the world can follow the action from home. We would like to thank MacDonald’s for assisting us in welcoming our development sides and NBA Africa for their prizes.
Thanks to Mr Jameson Hlongwane, Chairman of the Basketball Parents’ Committee and his team, who worked tirelessly to organise the tournament, and to all at St John’s College, who made the tournament such a roaring success.
“Congratulations to the winners, and thank you to all the players who joined us in the 125th anniversary year of our school. We trust you all made new friendships over the tournament weekend as you engaged in keen competition and healthy rivalry,” said Mr Stuart West, Executive Headmaster of St John’s College. “We look forward to welcoming you back next year.”
For action shots of our games, which are downloadable free of charge, please visit the 2023 Gallery at www.stjohnscollege.co.za/basketball