MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
Matthew C. Perry High School hosted the 2017 Division 2 Girls’ Far East Basketball Tournament at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, Feb. 22-23, 2017.
Eleven teams from the Far East Division endured two days of physically demanding competition for the opportunity at a championship game in a double elimination style tournament.
“Putting the tournament together this year was a challenge,” said April Kelly, Division 2 Girls’ Far East basketball coordinator. “We didn’t have enough billeting for everyone attending so we had to organize and coordinate how that was going to happen. Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 12 helped out by donating cots and sleeping bags so the girls could sleep in the classrooms and make this tournament happen.”
The Yokota Panthers proved deserving of first place defeating the Edgren Eagles in the final game of the tournament.
“This tournament helped my team realize how hard you actually have to work in order to be champions,” said Britney Bailey, a center with the Yokota Panthers basketball team. “It was a good experience, and I look forward to more competitions that test us as a team.
”Though good for building confidence with winning, the tournament also helped build the teams’ bonds.
“We played at new level that I’ve never seen before,” said Devon Shuman, a guard with M.C. Perry High School’s Samurai basketball team. “The tournament gave us something to work toward and built us up as a team. I would love to see more tournaments like this; it gives us an opportunity to bond with each other.”
Throughout the competition, building bonds and creating friendships proved to be impactful.
“Something I liked about this tournament was meeting the other players,” said Bailey. “I was surprised that even though we were competing they had great personalities and sportsmanship. It’s nice to be able to play a game, walk off the court and continue to build relations with the other players.”
Even through the end of the tournament, hospitality was a priority as awards were presented to players for various occasions such as most valuable player, best sportsmanship and all-around team placing.
Kelly said she made sure when the brackets were made that there was plenty of time between games so the girls had a chance to enjoy their time here and bond with the other players.
“The girls returning next year, show up to play,” said Kelly. “You want to walk away with the win and also make sure to get to know one another. The friendships you build here are what’s going to last.”