Joes bow out the kings of schools basketball bagging all-island crown | Sunday Observer

Joes bow out the kings of schools basketball bagging all-island crown

22 May, 2022

The champion St. Joseph’s College basketball team comprising Adrian Wijayawardana, Darren Bernard, Maneth Perera, Raphael Suraweera, Charaka Perera, Keith Costa, Shannon de Zilva, Methika Jayasinghe, Abhaya Gajamange, Kevin Perera, Kavin D’Almeida, Mareen Abishek, Shehan Fernando (Captain) and Divine Valerian pose for a ceremonial picture along with Fr. Priyan S. Tissera (Prefect of Games) and Fr. Ranjith Andradi (Rector). They were coached by Randima Sooriyaarachchi (head coach) and Shane Daniel (assistant coach)

Basketball players from St. Joseph’s College shone like the brightest of stars as they won the all-island Under-20 championship at the Sugathadasa Stadium in Colombo on Thursday witnessed by a large spectator turn-out after a lapse of three years.

There was no doubting the Joes as they believed in themselves and played to the liking of their supporters and knocked out their rivals one by one in the group stages defeating Gateway College Kandy 60-38, Mahinda College Galle 75-38, Angel International School Jaffna 75-32 and LPF Academy Dehiwala 90-38 respectively.

Their style of play surpassed all other teams while their brand in both attack and defence was the envy of many a coach.

Their quarter-final against Ananda College was the most anticipated game of the tournament that did not disappoint fans of all ages as they went on to win 62-57, an indication that their spirit on the court was unbreakable.

The final was equally electrifying or even more thrilling as the Joes beat Royal College 68-52 after they routed DS Senanayake College 87-36 in the semi-final. Skipper Shehan Fernando and Keith Costa were the key players in the Joes team while Shannon de Zilva’s defensive game was vital for their success throughout the tournament.

None could have grudged when Shehan Fernando was adjudged the Most Valuable Player while Keith Costa was awarded the Best Offensive Player.

Fernando was selected to the national basketball pool recently and his aggressive style of play only improved right throughout his school career.

According to his coaches, Fernando can end his school career with a 100 per cent record which is said to be a rare feat in school basketball.

St. Joseph’s won its last under-19 title in 2012 under the leadership of current national player Praneeth Udumalagala, now part of the Josephian support staff as its skills development coach.

Over 50 teams took part in the tournament in five divisions for boys and girls.