HGS Basketball team now playing competitively against local schools
It all started when Keiron, Deputy Head Student, and a few of his friends became interested in basketball. Mr Hannula, who played basketball as a teenager in the USA and remains an avid fan of the sport, offered to give the boys basketball training. It was just for fun at first until Keiron mentioned the club to Mr Mackay, former PE teacher. Mr. Mackay, who had run a basketball club at school in the past, was keen to support a new one. He blocked out some time in the upper gym and a basketball team started to take shape. The original 8 grew to 15 students and as the skill levels increased, they began practising in the main sports hall in preparation for competitive games.
Today the Basketball programme attracts many students across years 11-13. The plan is to invite year 10 students in the autumn and field a mixed team. The programme is supported by Mr Ryder, Director of Sport, and after the retirement of Mr. Mackay, it is coached by parents Mr Hannula and Mr Pietrowski —another parent from the US who played competitive basketball through university. The team now play with official game kit designed by themselves and games are officiated by Leeds League Referees.
Training takes place on Tuesdays after school until 6pm, no previous experience is necessary, and games are either during training or on Wednesdays away, Mr Hannula and Mr Pietrowski are hoping to expand sessions and the game schedule in the autumn.
Keiron Hannula, said, “When I started playing basketball with a couple friends outside of school, I never thought it would become an official club with two coaches and our own personalised kit. We play simply because we love the game. I hope the club’s success and growth continues with the same emphasis on striving to win while having fun.”
This Autumn will also see the formation of a small Harrogate schools league culminating in a tournament in the Spring of 2023. It is hoped the Basketball programme will continue to feature in the coming years, expanding its competition beyond Harrogate area.
Neil Renton, Headteacher, said, “seeing the Basketball club grow in size and success has been fantastic for both the students involved and the school. We really appreciate the time and effort the coaches put into training and raising funds for the team and matches.”