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Chiang Mai 2020: Diary of a Basketball Championship

Seisen News

Chiang Mai 2020: Diary of a Basketball Championship
Elizabeth Jury & Brittany Wilkins

The Varsity basketball team travelled to Chiang Mai, Thailand, for five days of service, culture and finished it off with a championship.

Day 1: Safe Travels

We arrived safely to Chiang Mai, Thailand!   Once in the air, the flight went well and many of the girls used the time on the plane to study, relax and sleep.  We had a quick layover in Bangkok and while waiting, many of the girls studied. 

Upon arrival in Chiang Mai, we made it to our hotel easily and welcomed the warmer weather after a cold week in Tokyo.  We went to the store to get bottled water and snacks and spent some time studying and hanging at the hotel.  We enjoyed a nice team meal together and everyone loved the Thai food.  This evening we spent time doing some souvenir shopping.  We are all looking forward to a good night’s sleep.  

Tomorrow we will be visiting the Mae Sa Waterfall in the early morning and spending the rest of the day volunteering at the orphanage and having dinner with the children there. 

Day 2: Agape Home/Orphanage

We had a great day today!  Our morning was spent at Mae Sa Waterfall.  It was really nice and the girls enjoyed taking in the scenery as well as some team bonding playing cards.  We had a Thai lunch at the national park before heading back to our hotel. 

We went to Agape Home/Orphanage for the afternoon/evening and upon arrival we all watched a short video of the history of the Agape Home.  The founder then shared more of her story with the girls which many found very impactful.  We then had a fun-filled afternoon/evening with many infants, toddlers, primary school and high school students.  Many of the kids at Agape Home remembered the Seisen girls and seeing their faces light up was priceless.  The young kids were overjoyed and just loved the hugs and attention from your daughters.  The girls really did a great job leading all the activities and interacting with everyone on staff.  A few of the activities included coloring, origami, balloon keep up, basketball, and volleyball.  We stayed for dinner and the girls had a chance to experience a typical meal there.  Before leaving, the team presented the Agape Home coordinator with the donation money that they raised from the two bake sales which was almost ¥50,000.  They were very grateful for the money donation!

We had a time of reflection and debriefing afterwards.  Each person shared their high, low, and how they were impacted during our time there.   Then we talked about what we could take away from our visit and the girls had some very deep reflections. 

We are excited for the first day of the basketball tournament tomorrow!  Our first game is at 10AM against the CRICS (Chiang Rai International Christian School) and at 2PM against MAK (Morrison Academy Kaohsiung). 


Day 3: Basketball and Food

Today was the first day of the Chiang Mai Basketball Invitational.  After a nice breakfast at the hotel, we walked to CMIS and played against Chiang Rai International Christian School.  The girls came out strong and led most of the game until the last couple of minutes when it was back and forth.  Unfortunately, CRICS put up a last second shot and we lost 22-23.  We had a nice lunch at the school cafeteria in between games along with some study time.  In our second game against Morrison Academy Kaohsiung, the girls came out strong and never looked back.  We ended up winning 31-19!   We got some Thai/Taiwain tea or fruit smoothies on our walk back to the hotel for some energy.  

This evening, we had our Thai cooking class and the girls absolutely loved it.  The cooking company picked us up from our hotel and took us to the local market near their facility which is walking distance from where we cook.  On our walk there, we passed by a temple that was good for the girls to see that part of the Thai culture.  The first course we made was coconut milk soup, followed by pad thai, green curry, and ended with mango sticky rice.  

We are headed to bed tonight with happy hearts and full stomachs.  We have two games again tomorrow with our first one at 12PM against the host school, Chiang Mai International School and again at 6PM against Ekamai International School

Day 4: The Tournament continues

We had games later today which gave the girls a chance to study and prepare for the two games that were played in the afternoon/evening.

In our first game, we had a slow start and were only up 5 at half -time but finished with a big 32-13 win over CMIS, the tournament host.  We had a nice lunch at the school and then watched the deciding game in our pool of teams.  We had a little time to rest before our last pool play game and of course we all got Thai/Taiwan milk teas and smoothies!  In our second game against Ekamai International School, we came out strong and never looked back.  We ended up winning 44-6!  The team we beat yesterday, Morrison Academy, beat Chiang Rai International Christian School today so we all ended up in a three-way tie for first in our pool.  It came down to point differential and since we had the highest score, we ended up first in our pool!  

After our game we headed back and had a lovely Thai dinner at the restaurant around the corner from the hotel with some really nice team bonding.  The girls are in good spirits and looking forward to tomorrow!  We will be playing against Elevate (International Community School of Bangkok Club Basketball team), the reigning champions from last year who finished second in the other pool.  Our semi-final game is at 8AM.  If we win, we will play for the championship at 3:30PM and if we lose, we will play for 3rd at 2PM.  We look forward to a great last day of Phoenix basketball as we wrap-up the tournament!

Day 5: Championship Game

Today the girls woke up ready to play and make the most of their last day in Thailand. After breakfast we headed to the gym to get ready for our game.  We had a tough semi-final match that was tight the whole game. The girls finished strong and were able to clinch the win over Elevate (International Community School of Bangkok Club Basketball team) 25-22.  We stayed to watch the other semi-final game and scout our opponent and then stopped for our last Thai/Taiwan tea and smoothies of the trip.  We had a nice team lunch and headed back to the gym to get ready for the championship game against the International School of Myanmar.  

In the championship game, we jumped out to an early lead.  The other team was able to close the gap and it was a tight game that came down to the final seconds.  In the end, we came out on top 35-34!  The girls were full of excitement, relief, joy, and of course lots of Phoenix pride! 

Before the awards ceremony, there was a pizza party for all of the players which was enjoyable for the girls.  During the awards ceremony, Sarah stepped up to the line in the FT contest and Lauren represented Seisen in the 3-point contest. Momone, Sarah, and Lisa were named to the all-tournament team and Sarah was voted Most Valuable Player of the 10-team girls tournament!  Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel to pack up since we are getting picked up at 4:45AM to catch our flight back!  We look forward to bringing the trophy home!

Thanks again for all of your support, encouragement, and prayers for the team throughout the week. 

Seisen International School in Tokyo Japan wins the Chiang Mai Invitational Basketball Tournament
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