The AUC men’s and women’s basketball teams participated in the Fifth Sector Tournament last week, facing off other Egyptian universities in two historic games.
Both teams were victorious, with the men’s team landing first place for the first time in five years on March 7 against the British University in Egypt (BUE), Future University in Egypt (FUE), Misr University for Science and Technology (MUST) and Misr International University (MIU).
The women’s team, however, secured their place as the champions of the tournament for the eighth year in a row the following day.
MEN’S: AUC vs. FUE
The men’s basketball team faced off against FUE during assembly hour, and even though FUE drew first blood with two points, AUC took the lead in the first quarter.
It was a riveting match all throughout the first quarter, but the highlight was when Seif Amin, one of the shooting guards, took the chance in the last second and got a buzzer beater; AUC leading at the end of the first quarter 32-17.
But Team Coach Heshame Saleh would not let our boys sit on their laurels and urged them to maintain their dominance throughout.
The third quarter ended with a three-point shot in the last 30 seconds, leaving a score of 48-33.
Saleh reminded the team that FUE could turn the tide if AUC let up on the pressure.
His boys did not disappoint; AUC extended its lead to end the game 66-48.
“We haven’t won this tournament in five years, so you technically just witnessed history,” Seif Labib, who plays small forward told The Caravan.
Nour Hefnawy, the team’s starting point guard, added that this season was their best chance to win the tournament, because they had been training intensely this past year.
He believes that participation in international tournaments gives AUC an edge in expertise and skills.
“This year our goal was clear since the first game of the tournament, and each team member did his best on and off the court,” Labib added.
Saleh told The Caravan that team trainings will keep going twice a week until next year’s competition.
WOMEN’S: AUC vs. AAST
As the women’s team braced for their game against the Arab Academy for Science and Technology (AAST), the girls didn’t let the height differences sway them.
“We are here to win even though our opponents have more pivots and are taller than we are,” said Team Captain Alia El Goan.
For the first quarter of the game, AUC was in the lead, with a score of 15-4.
The second quarter, however, was not as easy, as AAST appeared to be closing the gap with AUC leading 37-32.
“They are taller than we are, but we are faster. That will give us a good second half to watch,” Head of Athletics, Charles Gordon told The Caravan.
During the third quarter, AAST took the lead by one point, which is when Coach Nevine Akl called for a time out and asked the girls why they were “relaxed.”
“I want you to play like your life depends on it. They are killing themselves to win,” coach Akl said, motioning in the direction of the other team.
Farida Wael, team member, went onto the court, scoring the point that brought AUC back to the lead for the rest of the game.
Before the start of the last quarter, the score was 62-55, with the girls giving their all during the final 10 minutes of the match to make sure that AUC did not lose the tournament title.
The girls were victorious, ending the match at 77-70.
El Goan told The Caravan that this year the team focused on three-pointer shots and defense.
“I believe that what makes a team great, is the team spirit they have with each other,” El Goan added.
“We are training twice a week and we are focusing to go on a national scale. We want to beat Alexandria in the upcoming Universities of Egypt tournament.”