Oakleigh Grammar crowned 2023 Premiers at basketball competition

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In an historical victory that has been 23 years in the making, Oakleigh Grammar has taken out the Eastern Independent Schools of Melbourne (EISM) Senior Boys Basketball Premiership, ahead of 22 competing independent schools.

The closely contested Grand Final was hard fought against The Knox School who were the team to beat, having built a strong basketball reputation in recent years.

The Grand Final took place on Wednesday, 29 March 2023 at the Oakleigh Recreation Centre. With both teams evenly matched on the board, it went right down to the wire. When the final siren sounded, OG claimed victory over The Knox School – the difference being a single basket, with a final score of 55-53.

The win is even sweeter given that the Oakleigh Grammar Senior Basketball Team experienced only one win in the entire 2021 and 2022 seasons. The stage was set in the first round of the 2023 season, when the team defeated Kingswood College on their home court.

(L to R): MVP Vasileios Delichristos and Duncan Bain. Photo: Supplied

Success continued to Round 5 when Oakleigh Grammar faced competition favourite, The Knox School. It proved to be an epic tussle between the two best teams in the competition. Two points down at the siren, Oakleigh Grammar’s Vasileios Delichristos successfully scored the first two of three free throws to tie the match. Referees commented that it was the best game of basketball that they had refereed in quite some time.

Meeting again in the Grand Final, staff, students and family settled in for what promised to be a well-matched and closely fought contest – it didn’t fail to deliver. Vasileios Delichristos was outstanding and unsurprisingly, was awarded Most Valuable Player. He dictated many of the plays and ran the clock down in the final seconds of the game for the win.

Duncan Bain’s physical presence when rebounding was fierce and his leadership throughout all games was selfless and exceptional. George Maravelias’ three-point shooting was sublime. Year 10 student Vassos Charalambous demonstrated screening excellence putting Oakleigh Grammar in great stead for the next two years. James Soundy played his best game of the season.

Oakleigh Grammar’s EISM Senior Boys Basketball Champions. Photo: Supplied.

Oakleigh Grammar Coach and VCE Coordinator, VCE Academic Leader (Mathematics & Science), James Kalfas said: “At the beginning of the Grand Final, I simply held up a blank notepad and told the team they had the opportunity to write their own story for how the season ends, and that it was up to them to leave a positive legacy. I am extremely proud of each and every member of this team for their hard word, dedication and discipline in bringing home the EISM ES-Division trophy.”

“Oakleigh Grammar has not won a boys basketball final since the year 2000. In the face of what appeared to be an insurmountable challenge, something magic happened making the win even more special,” commented Principal Mark Robertson.

“It was a heart-stopping game that had spectators on the edge of their seats, and I congratulate The Knox School for its valiant effort in testing our team to the very end.”

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