Northwood clinches victory at St John’s College Invitational, claim’s top spot

Picture: Supplied / Gina Klingbeil

Picture: Supplied / Gina Klingbeil

Published Feb 29, 2024


Northwood High School's First (U19) basketball team has made history by clinching the title at the renowned St John's College Invitational Tournament, establishing themselves as the premier schools basketball squad in South Africa.

The tournament, held from February 22 to 25, showcased a total of 62 Under 13, Under 15 and Under 19 teams from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Eswatini.

Despite a slow start attributed to the unfamiliar Johannesburg air and elevation, Northwood demonstrated resilience and determination throughout the tournament.

Led by experienced players and a seasoned coaching staff, the team showcased their prowess in crucial matches against some of the top-ranked teams in the country.

In a display of dominance, Northwood triumphed over formidable opponents, including Maritzburg College and St Alban's, with convincing victories in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, respectively.

Picture: Supplied / Gina Klingbeil

While two thirds of the final tournament matches were 40-point blowouts, the St Alban’s match was a display of resilience and sheer willpower. The match was back and forth most of the way with Northwood down by 9 points in the fourth quarter with 90 seconds remaining.

“As the clock ticked, Syamthanda Shabalala and Chadley Hargreaves began getting steals and converting them to transition points to send the game to overtime.

“In overtime, Northwood held St Alban’s scoreless and used the momentum from the regulation period to propel them to the finals,” said Northwood basketball coach, Douglas Nedab.

The final match against King Edward VII School saw an outstanding performance from Lusanda Hlongwane, who led the team, scoring 38 points and 34 rebounds which earned him the title of tournament MVP.

Hlongwane is now regarded as the best high school basketball player in South Africa.

With an impressive display of skill and teamwork, Northwood emerged triumphant, clinching the championship title and solidifying their status as the number 1 ranked team in South Africa.

Chadley Hargreaves and Lusanda Hlongwane received accolades as tournament all-stars, further highlighting the exceptional talent within the team.

Stuart West, executive headmaster at St John’s College said that the Tournament “not only serves as a platform for competitive basketball but also fosters camaraderie and sportsmanship among participants”.