Winter NECIS Round-Up

After another fantastic Winter Season, the coaches of the Athletics department would like to share the results of this year’s winter NECIS tournament with the community and a breakdown of how their team developed throughout the season.

From multiple teams winning their tournaments to others learning lessons about the value of teamwork and changing their mindset after a loss, it is clear that every ISA team worked hard, played to the best of their ability and demonstrated exceptional sportsmanship. Go Bears!

Read below for each coach’s reflection on their team’s season.

U12 Boys Basketball

This year, 27 boys participated in the U12 Boys Basketball season. The boys started the season at different levels; some were beginners, while others had been playing for years. However, during the season, each individual player made progress with their techniques, including shooting, dribbling, passing, triple-treat and above all, their defence skills.

The U12 Boys A & B teams played various practice games throughout the season. There were both wins and losses, but every game presented learning opportunities and brought improvement along the way. But the NECIS Tournament in Hamburg was a story of its own. The 12 NECIS-selected ISA players demonstrated skills way above expectations. These 12 individuals melted into one united team, operating smoothly as a machine. The motto was: “you win the game with defence”, demonstrating their progress throughout the season. Every player executed the secret of man-to-man defence: “overplay their strong hand” and “help-side”.

The League games (AIS, CIS, BIS) were a warm-up and easily won with strong offensive play and solid defence. ISA came first in their League and had to play the semi-final versus Luxemburg (ISL), which is always a strong and tactical team. The ISA bears were sharp as knives, and Luxembourg did not know what had happened to them! ISA intercepted, rebounded, blocked, fought for every ball and scored many baskets. They played hard, and they played fair. ISA won the semi-final convincingly and then had to face the American School of the Hague (ASH) in the final.

ASH is the team that beat us several times during the season with large numbers. ISA started the Final as the underdog, but that only lasted for about one minute. ISA was unstoppable in both offence and defence. Every player has contributed during this tournament in one way or the other. The ISA U12 boys are the NECIS champions in 2023: congratulations to you all!

U12 Girls Basketball

The U12 Girls Basketball Team has had an incredible season. The team worked hard on developing their basketball fundamentals, including shooting, dribbling, passing, and defensive skills. They also focused on improving their teamwork, communication, and sportsmanship, which helped them to perform at their best in every game. They supported each other both on and off the court and showed great respect for their opponents. Their positive attitude and enthusiasm for the game were contagious, and they were a joy to watch.

Individual players also showed impressive growth and improvement over the course of the season. Every player contributed to the team’s success in their own way, whether through scoring points, making key defensive plays, or providing strong leadership.

The U12 Girls Basketball Team had a remarkable season and should be incredibly proud of their accomplishments. Winning the NECIS championship is a testament to their hard work, dedication, and teamwork. Congratulations again on a great season!

U14 Boys Basketball

The U14 Boys Basketball season was full of learning, improving and competing, which became the motto for the season. 25 players started out, and 20 players finished the season. Each player learned a lot about playing organised basketball and improved their fundamentals and skills, gaining experience competing in games with a goal.

12 players were selected to play at NECIS. It was a total season evaluation mainly based on approach, improvement and performance during practice and games. The tournament itself was also a learning, improving and competitive experience. The team won almost all the practice games during the season and all the poule games at the NECIS tournament.

The most significant learning moment came during the NECIS semi-final game, in which the team lost to ASH, who we had already beaten three times during the season! It was a game where we surprisingly got down in score for the first time during the season and were unable to recover and fight back. Therefore, the team experienced a tough, unexpected and disappointing loss.

However, the learning moment that the team experienced was how to play, act and recover when down in score or after a tough loss. The boys managed to recover mentally from the loss in the semi-final, becoming highly motivated to play hard for the 3rd place game where we played ISL. This game had a lot of parallels with the game against ASH: ISL’s play style was similar to that of ASH, and they were also a team that we had beaten during the season and in the poule phase.

The ISA boys showed that they learned from their experience in the semi-final and improved their play and approach, competing hard and playing well. This paid off, and they won 3rd place! In life, our reaction when things don’t go as expected matters, and the boys learned this lesson during their season. Go Bears!

U14 Girls Basketball

After three months of basketball fun, the U14 Girls Basketball team concluded its season with a great NECIS tournament and brought home the Plate cup! Seeing how the girls have been committed to the team and worked hard to help each other improve has been a pleasure. Thank you to everyone involved in making this a fun experience. Looking back, the girls agreed: All ‘suicides’ ran during practice were totally worth it! Let’s go Bears!

JV Boys Basketball

The JV Boys group began with over 30 players, and giving all of them a chance meant it took quite a while to concentrate on the core team. The team focused exclusively on defence, learning along the way that hard work is not dependent on skill but on a willingness to show up and perform. In the lead-up to NECIS, gameplay started off a little rocky. However, during NECIS, everything began to gel, the team’s defensive skills became rock solid, and their confidence began to soar. There was rapid progress in a short space of time, and this accomplishment has made their coach very proud.

JV Girls Basketball

The JV Girls Basketball team started the year as 9 individuals with mixed levels of experience. One player returned from the year before, a few came over from the U14 team, and some were relatively new to the sport. 

The start of the year was used to work on improving and learning new skills and understanding how to apply strategies. Most importantly, every week, the group got better at understanding what it means to play and practice as a team, to give trust that you have each other’s backs, and to create space for each other with and without the ball. Each week of practice, the defence became tighter, and the offence got more open chances, even against stronger defences. By the time the tournament came around, we were ready to play our best game.

On Wednesday, 15 March, the team took the plane to Copenhagen. The first two games were physical, and they handled this well. However, the team got a scare when one of the players received a foot injury. Luckily, after it was taped, she could continue with the tournament. 

The next day we played the highly-anticipated first game against ASH. This game was significant; the team had lost three out of four practice games against ASH, and the game’s winner would be first in the poule, important to avoiding the Copenhagen team, who were the tournament favourite to win in the semi-final. The team played smart and as a team, leading to a win of 22-19. 

The semi-final was against Dusseldorf, a team we had also lost twice in the pre-season. In this game, the team could see how much we improved as a team and in adapting during a game. This led to another clear win, putting the team in the finals. 

As anticipated, the final was against Copenhagen, who had won all of their previous games by double-digits, which was a daunting prospect. So the team devised a strategy to block the best player, forcing them to play in a way they did not want. The tournament’s last game meant a packed and noisy gym, providing a great atmosphere to play a final.

The team played their best game yet, frustrating the Copenhagen team at every turn. It was a nail-biting, thrilling game, and in the end, ISA won 26-25 becoming NECIS champions! One team member, Amelia, received the award of Most Valuable Player. However, all team members were equally valuable when working together as a team.

Although the big tournament win was a highlight, it was the experience of learning the value of teamwork, making lifelong friendships and visiting Copenhagen that the girls will cherish for life. Thank you to the chaperones and Athletics department for perfectly organising everything so we could focus on playing our best.

Varsity Boys Basketball

The 2022-2023 season began with 17 boys. The intention was to let the boys improve their basketball skills every year. During the season, each player improved and understood the game better, and even began coaching each other during training and games. As a result, they won more games than they lost in the pre-season. 

By working towards NECIS, the team was finally coming together. The team’s goal for NECIS was to reach the semi-finals, which they achieved by winning all the group games. They won the first game against AIS in overtime (50-47), the second game against ASH (51-47) and the third game against BIS (55-28). Unfortunately, the team lost the semi-finals against a better ISL (38-66) and had to play for 3rd and 4th place the next day. Despite the significant loss, the boys were focused and ready to play. Then, they had to play ASH again. It was a very close game that they won by a 1-point difference (38-37). The boys played great!

It was a great tournament, in which you could see that the boys had grown in their basketball skills. Congratulations to you all!

Varsity Girls Basketball

The Varsity Girls started the season with a new team. The girls had to get to know each other first, which showed during the first games. However, the results were gradually improving throughout the season. Unfortunately, the team then lost a player due to an injury, but they did not let it shake their confidence and instead worked harder. Good and bad games were played, but the team learned and grew from them. At NECIS, they played some great games, but unfortunately, they didn’t make it to the finals due to another injury. Nevertheless, the girls finished third overall, and that was well deserved.


The NECIS swimming trip to Luxembourg was an exciting and memorable event for everyone involved. Students from various international schools gathered to compete in the annual swimming competition, and it was an excellent opportunity for them to showcase their talent, sportsmanship, and teamwork.

One of the highlights of the event was the outstanding performance of ISA. Our school emerged not only as the most successful but also with the most supportive and visible parents. The parents cheered on their children during every race, creating a vibrant and energetic atmosphere during the event.

In addition to the supportive parents, ISA had several talented swimmers who broke several NECIS records. Francesca, Alexander, Zea, and Carla were the stars of the ISA team, putting on an exceptional performance throughout the competition. Their hard work and dedication paid off, and they significantly impacted the team’s overall success. The atmosphere during the event was electric, with every swimmer pushing themselves to the limit to achieve their best performance. It was inspiring to see the level of commitment and determination that each student brought to the competition, regardless of whether they were experienced swimmers or competing for the first time.

The trip to Luxembourg was also an opportunity for students to connect with each other and form new friendships. ISA students were able to bond with their peers from other international schools, sharing their experiences and learning from each other.

Overall, the NECIS swimming trip to Luxembourg was a resounding success, and ISA’s performance was a testament to the hard work and dedication of the team, the support of the parents, and the overall spirit of the event. It was an opportunity for students to showcase their talents, connect with their peers, and learn valuable life lessons such as sportsmanship, teamwork, and resilience. The event will undoubtedly be remembered for years to come by all who attended.