“We practiced a lot, and I realized once again that practice doesn’t betray you.”
The Assist For Youth (AFY) project, which Assist has been running since 2022 to develop youth basketball in South Korea. Cheongju Dream Team Basketball Class, a partner in the project, finished as the runner-up in the U8 division of the 2023 Chungbuk-Cheongju Youth Club League (I-League) on Nov. 11.
The U8 team, comprised of players from the youngest grade of the Cheongju Dream Team Basketball Class, the first and second grades, includes Park Hee-jae (Men’s Second), Noh Seung-min (Changri Second), Noh Geon (Naegok Second), Shin Joo-an (Naegok Second), Seo Yoon-jae (Wonbong Second), Bang Chan-sol (Sugok First), and Lee Kun-hee (Men’s First).
The players of the Cheongju Dream Team U8 team, who worked hard to become one with the basketball with their fern-like hands, played their best game in the I-League. The Cheongju Dream Team Basketball Class U8 team was a surprise runner-up, showing that their hard work before the tournament paid off.
As the U8 tournament was not held in other regions, U8 teams from Asan, Chungcheongnam-do and Namyangju, Gyeonggi-do traveled down to Cheongju to compete, and the Cheongju Dream Team Basketball Classes made a name for themselves by defeating the top teams.
After defeating Cheongju Clean Shot and Hwado Samsung Basketball Classroom in the preliminary round, Cheongju Dream Team Basketball Classroom topped their group with two straight wins, and met powerhouse Asan Samsung Basketball Classroom in the quarterfinals.
Asan Samsung Basketball Class is a nationally recognized youth basketball class powerhouse, and Cheongju Dream Team Basketball Class was expected to have a tough time. However, the players of the Cheongju Dream Team Basketball Class, who were solidified by steady training, overcame the odds to win and advance to the final.
Their final opponent was Asan Woori Bank. Asan Woori Bank had defeated Cheongju Dream Team Basketball Class by 20 points in the previous tournament in Jecheon. Cheongju Dream Team Basketball Class was expected to be underdogs in the final against their toughest opponent. However, the Cheongju Dream Team Basketball Class players pulled off a surprise upset, losing by just one point to claim the runner-up spot.
“We prepared a lot for the U8 division of the i-League,” said Kim Dong-woo, head coach of the Cheongju Dream Team Basketball Classroom, “and we trained a lot with the kids with the idea of ‘let’s make it happen,’ but unexpectedly, our kids did so well. Honestly, I expected a tough game from the fourth round, but I think we got a good result because our kids led the game well,” he said, praising the players.
“Asan Woori Bank, the team we faced in the final, was a team that we had played before and handed us a 20-point defeat. At the time, it felt like an ‘insurmountable wall’. But this time, we played a close game and unfortunately lost by one point. Both the Asan Woori Bank parents and our parents at the stadium praised us, saying that the kids have improved so much. We practiced a lot before this tournament, and I felt once again that practice doesn’t betray you.”토토사이트
Although the team missed out on winning the tournament, Kim Dong-woo vowed to challenge for the top again in the second edition in September. “This was the first edition of the tournament, and the final winner will be determined by summing up the scores until the second edition, which will be held in September. We secured four points with this runner-up finish, so we will try to secure as many points as possible in the second round of the tournament and create a good result. All of the kids have gained confidence that they can do it, so we will practice harder,” he said, promising a good showing in the second round.
The tournament also awarded MVPs for each game, with Park Hee-jae, Noh Seung-min, Noh Geon, and Bang Chan-sol from the Cheongju Dream Team Basketball Class receiving the honor.