Bikinian Jackson Aster on Gold Medal Winning RMI Basketball Team
July 14, 2011 – Ponape, FSM: The Marshall Islands national 15-and-under basketball team made history today in Pohnpei, FSM, becoming the first RMI basketball team to win gold in regional competition. Jackson Aster, a 15 year old Bikinian who attends the Majuro Cooperative School in Majuro, was one of only 11 boys to play on the team after a lengthy tryout process.
In the championship game of the first 15-and-Under Micronesia Basketball Tournament (East Division) on Thursday night July 14, 2011, the RMI team defeated Pohnpei I 91-67.
The two teams had split their earlier games, with Pohnpei winning the first meeting Monday 68-65, and the RMI boys rebounding for a 74-65 win on Tuesday, which propelled them to the championship game Thursday.
RMI won the rubber match resoundingly. Telephoning from court side at the College of Micronesia’s gymnasium in Palikir Pohnpei minutes after the team won the gold medal, assistant coach Alber Alik reported that the RMI teenagers went into overdrive in the gold medal game and Pohnpei couldn’t keep pace. “They couldn’t run with us,” said Alik, who with Robert Pinho assisted Head Coach Paul Kattil with the unprecedented tournament result.
RMI held a strong 20-point lead mid-way through the game, but Pohnpei fought back in the third quarter to narrow the score. By the last 10 minutes of the game, however, RMI’s fast break overwhelmed the Pohnpei players, said Alik.
Further details of the game, including leading scorers will be posted as they become available.
The team returns to Majuro Friday night, July 15. Ministry of Internal Affairs Secretary Wilbur Heine has arranged for the team and coaches to be welcomed through the airport’s VIP Lounge, with a live broadcast with V7AB scheduled to happen immediately after their arrival. Parents of the players are also organizing a welcome at the airport and other festivities.
The Marshall Islands Basketball Federation wishes to recognize its many supporters that made the RMI national 15-and-under team’s participation in this Micronesia basketball tournament a resounding success. Please see our donor recognition on our home page.