Classroom of the Elite Volume 11 Chapter 7 Part 1
I headed over to the special building and went to the designated location for the commanders. There, Sakayanagi and Ichinose, who had arrived before me, were engaged in idle chatter with each other. From the looks of it, we weren’t allowed to enter the multipurpose room yet.
“Good morning to you, Ayanokōji-kun.”
They both greeted me at the same time, and I lightly raised my hand in response.
“It doesn’t seem like we’re allowed to go in just yet.”
“They told us to let them know once all four of us arrived.”
That is to say, the school was looking to ensure that the exam was carried out in a fair manner.
If you were to enter the multipurpose room before the other commanders, you’d be able to calm your mind and adjust to the atmosphere of the testing grounds before anyone else.
And, as this was a particularly special exam, there was no such thing as overdoing it when it came to ensuring fairness.
“It seems we’re just waiting on Kaneda now.”
I took a look around. While there was still no sign of Kaneda, there was no way he’d risk being late.
“At any rate, you sure are lucky, Ichinose-san.”
“As they are now, Class D is no different than an infant. Their chances of beating your class are pretty much nonexistent. All you have to do now is to see just how many wins you can pile up. If you win seven events in a row, Class B might even change places with Class A. That is, depending on how Class A performs.”
“Oh no, there’s no way to tell what’s going to happen. They’ll probably be desperate, so we definitely can’t let our guards down.”
Upon seeing Ichinose steel her resolve like this, Sakayanagi let show an amused smile. This prompted Ichinose to speak up again.
“Huh? Did I say something weird?”
“No. You just spoke like you’re at the top, ready to take on anyone. At the very least, I understand that you don’t view Class D as your equals. Just what I expected from the one who managed to protect Class B for an entire year.”
Sakayanagi’s words were slightly mean-spirited. However, Ichinose didn’t let it get to her.
“Class B also came here with a strategy, ready to win. We won’t lose easily, especially in an exam like this where unity and cooperation play such an important part.”
“I see. That was quite rude of me. It certainly is as you say, Ichinose-san.”
I stared out the nearby window as I listened in on their conversation.
With April right around the corner, the weather today was bright and sunny. There wasn’t a single cloud in the sky.
Like that, about five minutes or so passed. Before long, it began to dawn on us that he might be late.
Finally, we heard the faint sound of footsteps approaching from the other end of the hallway.
“Well, it doesn’t seem like he’ll be late after all. I guess he didn’t lose his nerve and give up either.”
Sakayanagi expressed her thoughts, amused that Kaneda would be showing up at the last possible moment.
Ichinose also seemed to be bracing herself as the exam was finally about to begin.
We each took the liberty of envisioning what was about to happen.
That is, we would join up with Kaneda after he arrived, and the four of us would enter the multipurpose room together.
An unexpected person showed up instead.
Upon seeing who it was, Ichinose let show a completely dumbfounded expression.
While Sakayanagi was just as surprised as Ichinose, her expression quickly changed as she narrowed her eyes in amusement.
“…Ryūen-kun? Why… Why are you here…?”
A clear, distinctive feeling of unrest coursed through Ichinose.
No, neither I nor Sakayanagi had seen this coming either.
“What’s wrong with you? What’s got ya shaking there?”
Ryūen, the former leader of Class D, deliberately drew attention to Ichinose’s trembling.
“I see… I hadn’t expected this to happen. It seems I had wrongly convinced myself that the commanders for this special exam would be those of us who received protection points.”
Sakayanagi was the first to put the pieces together. Indeed, this man, Ryūen, had come here alone. Kaneda was nowhere to be seen.
“The special exam can’t even start without the commanders. In other words, if it just so happens that the commander is absent, then someone else’ll naturally have to fill in for ‘em. Ain’t that right?”
An unforeseen absence on the very day of the exam was certainly something that could happen.
There was probably some sort of system in place where one or two people would be ready as substitutes for the commander’s position.
And, of course, the substitute commander would be the one to take responsibility should their class lose the exam.
“Even so, I never even considered that you might show up, Ryūen-kun.”
“Well, duh? Considering the type of person you are, Ichinose, even if you broke out in a fever or got yourself injured, you’d come crawling here on your hands and knees to prevent your classmates from having to risk getting expelled.”
If they lose the exam, there would be no way to prevent the commander’s expulsion other than using a protection point. Just as Sakayanagi had said, the preconceived notion that the people with protection points would end up becoming the commanders had been a critical misconception.
Ichinose nervously cleared her throat.
Back when the special exam was first announced, Ichinose naturally must’ve been at least a little bit cautious about who the opposing commanders would be. However, when Kaneda showed up as the commander back when the class matchups were decided, she probably ended up dismissing this possibility altogether.
In her head, the process of elimination had probably happened without her even realizing it.
She ended up concluding that the special exam would be a competition between the students who had gotten their hands on protection points.
“Surely there must be some sort of penalty for you to participate as a substitute, right?”
“Yeah, Kaneda isn’t allowed to participate in any events. It ain’t that unreasonable.”
Ryūen was saying that this penalty was something he had already taken into consideration.
“Did you do this to throw me off? Even if you did, isn’t it disadvantageous for you that Kaneda-kun can’t participate?”
While I didn’t know the full extent of Kaneda’s abilities, he was most likely a vital asset for Class D.
This meant that they had come up with a clever scheme that involved giving up on Kaneda’s potential. Subconsciously, it would lead one to start pondering why.
When had they decided that Ryūen would become the commander? If it was from the very beginning, did that mean that this had all been planned from the start? With questions like these running through her mind, Ichinose was probably terribly confused right now.
“Oi, don’t be so wary of me will ya? I’m just their sacrifice. If my class loses, the commander’ll get expelled. It’s a perfect chance for those Class D guys to kick me outta here. That’s all there is to it, aight?”
“Then, are you saying you’ll go easy on me?”
“Kuku. Yeah, I’ll ease up on ya, so just chill out and come at me.”
Ryūen spread his arms, welcoming her to come at him, but there was no way Ichinose was going to fall for it.
“When you want to win, you’re the type to pull out every trick in the book. That’s how you fight, isn’t it?”
“If I want to win, then sure.”
“I wish you wouldn’t. You don’t have a protection point and you’re fighting with your back up against the wall. Somehow I can’t help but feel like this is a bad omen for Class B.”
Ichinose is the type of person who prefers to build trust, confidence, and safety from the ground up. Because of that, her capacity to deal with sudden accidents was by no means one of her strong suits. While this wouldn’t be much of a problem against an average opponent, it was a different story altogether against somebody like Ryūen.
Perhaps the shock would soon spread from Ichinose to the entirety of Class B.
Everyone in her class would inevitably notice that Ryūen had become the commander.
And, even if they didn’t, Ishizaki and the others would surely make it well-known anyway.
In which case, the rest of Class B wouldn’t be able to hide their distress, just like Ichinose.
If Ryūen had become the commander despite having stepped down as the leader of Class D, the unpredictable nature of his instructions would be a lingering cause for alarm.
“It seems the showdown between Class B and D is going to be quite intriguing as well.”
It probably wasn’t so much of a laughing matter for Ichinose like it was for Sakayanagi, though.
She really should’ve taken action back when Class D was repeatedly stalking her classmates.
If she had caught onto the fact that Ryūen had been lurking behind the scenes earlier on, it probably wouldn’t have come as this much of a shock to her now.
“Well, seeing as we’re all here, let’s go, shall we?”
With Sakayanagi leading the way, we entered the multipurpose room. A wall that hadn’t been there the last time we were here had been constructed, dividing the inside of the room into two distinct halves. For an improvised, temporary wall, it seemed to be quite sturdy and soundproof. The four homeroom teachers in charge of the first year had been on standby waiting for us.
“Those from Class B and Class D, please move over there.”
Per Mashima-sensei’s instructions, the two of them disappeared to the other side of the partitioning wall with Chabashira following behind them.
The facilitators for Class A and Class C were Class D’s Sakagami-sensei and Class B’s Hoshinomiya-sensei.
From the looks of it, the teachers weren’t in charge of proctoring the exam for their own classes.
“The test will start in five minutes. Take this time to compose yourselves while you can.”
Leaving us with this piece of advice, Hoshinomiya-sensei then took Sakagami-sensei aside to have what seemed to be one final talk about the preparations for the exam.
Before the exam, Sakayanagi and I had a few minutes alone together, just the two of us.
“Finally… The day I’ve been waiting for has finally arrived. To be honest, I couldn’t sleep last night, and I almost overslept this morning.”
“I don’t remember making you wait so long. It’s just a coincidence that you met me in the first place.”
“Are you saying that, if you hadn’t come to this school, we wouldn’t have met?”
As I nodded in response, she laughed, promptly denying it.
“Our reunion at this school was indeed a mere coincidence. But, I was confident that I’d meet you again sooner or later. It was fate, decided long ago.”
“Fate, huh? You’re saying some pretty abstract things.”
“Well, I am a young lady, after all.”
Sakayanagi smiled as she spoke, slowly approaching me with her cane in hand.
“If you hadn’t enrolled in this school, I would’ve just postponed this for another three years or so. I was confident I could pass the time without rushing things, hiding my feelings of anticipation deep inside. But, that simply doesn’t work anymore. Ever since I found out you were within my reach, every passing day has just felt so long. It has been so very difficult to subdue my feelings; To subdue my burning desire to compete with you. That’s just how much I’ve been dreaming of today.”
Sakayanagi spoke eloquently. Her wish was finally being granted, was it?
“Aren’t you afraid to wake up from your dream?”
Once our competition happens, there would be no going back.
“Dreams have to be woken up from at some point.”
She didn’t seem to care. The only thing on her mind was that today was the day her dreams would finally be realized.
“Normally… I’d ask you to go easy on me, but…”
The look in her eyes was not what you’d expect from a young girl. It carried a certain kind of sharpness that you’d see from a hunter going after its prey.
“Please, face me with everything you’ve got.”
If I were to compete with her half-heartedly, Sakayanagi wouldn’t be happy with that in the slightest.
While I wasn’t doing this in order to make her happy, it’d be far too troublesome to get involved with her any more than this.
But, I also had my doubts as to whether or not this special exam would be enough to satisfy her.
Then, as if she had read my mind, Sakayanagi spoke up again.
“I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t feel conflicted. This special exam is far too inadequate for us to fully demonstrate the extent of our potential. Even though we’re both commanders, our ability to intervene is limited.”
The school would never carry out an unreasonable exam where the outcome depended solely on the actions of the commanders.
Sakayanagi was saying that, as long as there was an outcome, the inadequacy of the exam was trivial.
“Be that as it may, if the commander’s ability to intervene wasn’t limited, we’d run into a different problem. I believe it’s important to take your situation into consideration as well, Ayanokōji-kun. You don’t want your classmates to find out about your true abilities, right?”
Indeed, this consideration of hers was something I was quite grateful for. If the commander were to have a large amount of influence over the outcomes of every single event, I probably wouldn’t be able to make the most of it.
“Okaaay, the exam will begin any second now~ Please take a seat~”
As Hoshinomiya-sensei’s instruction came flying, we both sat down across from each other at our designated computers.
Naturally, we couldn’t see each others’ faces with the computer screens placed between us. On my screen, there were the portrait photographs of each student in Class C.
Excluding me, there were 38 pictures in total. Once the first selected event was announced, we’d be using these pictures to assign the students that we wanted to go and participate.
Next, the ten events Class C had come up with were displayed on the screen.
“My name is Sakagami, and I’ll be the one hosting the special exam. Without any further delay, let’s begin the final special exam of the first year. Each of you, please select the five events you’d like to be considered and press ‘confirm’ when you’re done.”
I selected the five events that Horikita had in mind and pressed confirm immediately.
Before long, Sakayanagi finished making her choices as well, and a total of ten events were displayed on the large monitor in the room.
For Class C’s events, I had chosen Archery, Basketball, Table Tennis, Typing, and Tennis. I had toyed around with the idea of throwing in an interesting event like Rock Paper Scissors, but I ultimately decided against it.
I had discarded the idea of using our English event since it overlapped with Class A’s English Test event. Despite the fact that Hirata and Onodera specialized in Football and Swimming, I decided not to go with those events because they would most likely be useful in another event somewhere down the line.
Moreover, my strategy was for Class C to focus primarily on athletic events instead of academics.
For Class A’s events, Sakayanagi had chosen Chess, English, Modern Literature, Math, and Flash Mental Arithmetic. There were ten events in total. She had chosen all three of the events that Katsuragi predicted she would, and both of the events he had mentioned as a runner-up had also made it in. He had truly given Keisei and me a perfect answer.
Though, it didn’t end up changing anything, and that’s because I had deliberately chosen not to tell Horikita about what Keisei and I had learned.
“Moving forward, we’ll hold a completely randomized drawing to determine each of the seven events that you’ll be competing in.”
“Anywho, Ayanokōji-kun~ It sure is a shame that you’re gonna haveta go up against somebody like Sakayanagi-san. Sensei feels so sorry for you.”
“Hoshinomiya-sensei. You know the rules.”
“Yes, sir~ Sorry for speaking out of turn~”
Upon being reprimanded by her colleague, Hoshinomiya-sensei lowered her head in apology.
“The result of the drawing will be displayed on the large monitor in the center of the room, so please do take a look.”
As he spoke, Sakagami-sensei motioned toward the monitor, where the screen had changed over to something else.
There was a 3D image that had all of the events in consideration displayed together.
And then, the first event was selected.
『Basketball』 Required Participants: 5 ・ Time Restriction: 20 Minutes Total (Two Halves with a 4 Minute Intermission)
Rules: Standard basketball rules apply.
Commander Intervention: The commander is allowed to perform up to one substitution at any given time.
It was a five-on-five match in an event that Class C had chosen.
In other words, it was an event we absolutely couldn’t afford to lose.
“Sakagami-sensei. Are we students free to speak with one another?”
“There are no rules against it. Do as you wish.”
“That is, we’re free to wage a war of words?”
Sakayanagi directly stated what her intention was, and yet Sakagami-sensei still didn’t see a problem with it.
“Uwaa~ Sakayanagi-san is soooo merciless!”
Hoshinomiya-sensei chimed in again. She had probably interpreted this as Sakayanagi gaining full permission to launch a merciless assault against me.
“Eep! I’m sorry! I won’t speak out of turn anymore!”
While the students were free to speak, it seemed that the teachers were not. Hoshinomiya-sensei had been reprimanded time and again.
“Unsurprisingly, Class C ended up choosing a small number of sporting events. Although, I suppose it’s perfectly understandable considering how few of your classmates can study effectively. Sudō-kun is probably the central figure of this basketball event too, wouldn’t you say? After all, he’s one of the best basketball players in this school. I don’t think you stand a chance against us if you don’t make proper use of him.”
Sakayanagi jumped at the opportunity to speak her mind, looking to get me to engage with her, but I intentionally chose to keep quiet.
If at all possible, I wanted to avoid making too much of an impression on Hoshinomiya-sensei and Sakagami-sensei.
“Did Horikita-san, the true commander of Class C, order you not talk with me unless you had to?”
Upon seeing that I still wasn’t going to respond, she continued.
“If so, even if you say something, it shouldn’t affect who you end up selecting. Do you disagree?”
Sakayanagi was also well aware that I was looking to limit my words while we were in front of the teachers.
“Horikita warned me not to say anything excessive to you. She said that if I’m not careful with what I say, I’ll just get caught up in one of your tricks and have the tables turned on me.”
“Fufu. That’s no good, Ayanokōji-kun. You’ve already gone and provided me with important information. The identity of the mastermind controlling you from the shadows is something you should’ve kept hidden. If you go ahead and confess that it’s Horikita-san, you do know that I’ll be able to infer things based on her personality and behavioral patterns, right?”
“No, that’s… That doesn’t necessarily mean that she’s the one instructing me.”
“Didn’t you just say it yourself, though? That Horikita-san told you what to do?”
Upon seeing Sakayanagi let out a chuckle, Hoshinomiya-sensei put her palm on her forehead as an ‘uh oh’ leaked out of her mouth.
Sakagami-sensei was also taken aback. He stood there, shaking his head, watching as Sakayanagi extracted information out of me all too easily.
“No, I just said that Horikita warned me… The instructions could’ve come from somebody else.”
“Could’ve? In a situation like this, you won’t get yourself anywhere if you don’t state definitively that it was somebody else, even if it’s a lie.”
Not only did Sakayanagi see through what I had been trying to do, but she even spoke up to support me in doing so.
This exchange alone must’ve been more than enough to convey the overwhelming difference in power between the two of us.
Now that we had worked together to trick both of the teachers who were watching over us, the special exam would truly begin.
“What does it matter anyway? Class C came to face this exam after carefully thinking about what strategies you would come up with, Sakayanagi. Even if you’ve realized that Horikita is the one that came up with our strategy, then all that’s done is level the playing field.”
“My goodness, you’ve gone and admitted to it so straightforwardly. Though, since when was I the one who came up with Class A’s strategy, exactly? Just like you, Ayanokouji-kun, I have as many minds to help me decide things as I do classmates. Did it ever occur to you that Class A could’ve also chosen to face this exam after running through all sorts of simulations on what Class C might do?”
Dozens of seconds had passed since the teachers had given her permission to engage in a war of words with me.
Unable to stand and watch this happen any longer, Sakagami-sensei pushed forward with the exam.
“Do remember that time is limited. While I did say that you were free to speak with one another, please don’t neglect your task at hand.”
Of course, my conversation with Sakayanagi had absolutely no effect on my mental state.
The only ones who were worried here were the teachers. For me, and also Sakayanagi, this was nothing more than an idle conversation.
Once the both of us had finished making our choices, the list of students who’d be participating in the basketball event was announced.
Class C’s participants were Makida Susumu, Minami Setsuya, Ike Kanji, Hondō Ryotarō, and Onodera Kayano. Critically, Sudō was not among them. Furthermore, I had even included a girl in our lineup. The team’s ace was Makida. According to Sudō, as long as Makida practiced for it, he should be skilled enough to pass the exam. In addition, although Onodera’s true specialty was swimming, her basketball skills didn’t seem to be all that bad. From the looks of it, Horikita had decided that choosing her would be better for the team than choosing a boy who didn’t have any experience. As for our opponent, Class A chose Machida Kōji, Toba Shigeru, Kamuro Masumi, Shimizu Naoki, and Kitō Hayato. Sakayanagi had thrown a girl into the mix as well.
According to the information I had gathered from Hirata, Kei, and Kushida, the team I had chosen should be more than ready to take home the win.
Sakagami-sensei was standing over near Sakayanagi, so I couldn’t see his face very clearly. However, Hoshinomiya-sensei was standing near me, and I could easily see hers. At a glance, I could tell that she had her doubts about the participants I had chosen.
After all, Sudō Ken, the man considered to be the main focus of the basketball event, was nowhere to be seen.
Of course, this was a strategy that Horikita and the rest of Class C had decided upon, not me.
Though, it’s only natural that Sakayanagi would see through a strategy like this.
“So you’re looking to win without using Sudō-kun, is that it? With reflexes like his, it wouldn’t be all that unusual for him to succeed at both tennis and table tennis as well. Well, either way, it’s all within the realm of my expectations.”
With Sudō in the lead, we would’ve been able to safely guarantee ourselves the win. Meanwhile, Class A wouldn’t be very happy about seeing basketball get selected. After all, Sudō is the first person who comes to mind the moment anyone thinks of the basketball event. Class A’s chances of winning would be quite a lot lower if they were to take on a basketball team led by Sudō, and they knew that.
In which case, the next logical conclusion for Class A would be to avoid making the mistake of wasting any of their skilled students on the basketball event.
Then, with Sudō out of the way, Class A might have the upper hand in the sporting events that would come later on.
In light of this, Class C intentionally made the decision to not use Sudō in the basketball event. If at all possible, we wanted to preserve his valuable potential that could shine in the remaining sporting events.
Whether or not Sudō had already participated in an event would also be a deciding factor in case the tennis or table tennis events were to get chosen later on.
However, based on the people in Class A’s lineup, it seems that Sakayanagi had seen through this short-sighted plan of ours.
“By the way, who was it that came up with these rules regarding commander intervention? Was this also Horikita-san’s idea? You do realize that it completely exposed what your goal was, right?”
“Sorry, but I can’t answer that.”
“Is that right? If you can’t answer, then I suppose it can’t be helped.”
On the other side of the monitor, we watched as the preparations for the event went underway. The match would be starting soon.
In the meantime, the only thing we’d be able to do is sit and watch the event unfold.
As the commanders, our only means of influencing this event was our ability to substitute one of the players.
But, that one, single decision could mean the difference between victory and defeat.
At the sound of a whistle, a strenuous 10-minute match of basketball began.
At first, even though they didn’t have Sudō on the team, Class C was almost equally matched with Class A.
The moment one team scored a lead, the other would come right back and equalize it. It was truly a neck-and-neck match.
Even the teachers found their eyes being drawn to the fierce battle unfolding on the monitor, completely unsure of who exactly would win.
As the one chosen to take Sudō’s place, Makida wasn’t bad at all. Even though he was nowhere near as good as Sudō, his above-average skills allowed him to carry out the role of the team’s ace quite well. On the other hand, Class A’s ace was none other than Kitō, who was proving himself to be an equal match for Makida every step of the way.
By the point halftime came around, there was only a one-point gap in the score at 12 to 11.
Class C had only just barely taken the lead.
“An interesting match, this one.”
Sakayanagi expressed her thoughts on the match. It would be hard to say which team would win during the second half.
The second half of the match was set to begin after a brief four-minute intermission. However, Sakayanagi still didn’t make her move. Even though Class C was leading by one point, she still seemed to think that the two teams were equal in strength, and was instead looking to see how the match would play out. I, however, reached out for the keyboard in front of me without the slightest bit of hesitation. I made the decision and called for Sudō to swap out with Ike.
It’s certainly true that, at a glance, the two teams seemed to be evenly matched. It seemed like there was no way to tell how the game would play out.
For the last ten minutes, I had been quite torn over whether or not I should substitute Sudō into the match.
Sakayanagi let out a faint chuckle. It didn’t seem like she had any intention of letting me preserve Sudō’s potential.
Before long, Sudō arrived on the other side of the monitor, warmed up and ready to go.
Even though it wouldn’t be surprising if he had his doubts about being called in at this point, his expression was still extremely serious.
From the looks of it, Sudō inevitably seemed to realize the same thing that I had.
“Both teams are evenly matched. Or, no, Class C is winning right now. Isn’t your decision to call in Sudō a bit premature?”
“I just thought I should guarantee that we pick up the win.”
“This is quite an important first match, so I understand how you feel. After all, there’s no way to be sure that tennis or table tennis will get chosen after this. There’s no reason to hold onto Sudō-kun if there’s no event that can make proper use of him.”
“Shouldn’t you be swapping out one of your players as well?”
“There’s no need for that. I chose a winning lineup from the very beginning.”
Kitō, who had been marking Makida, switched over to marking Sudō.
From the main classroom, Sudō should’ve been watching over the entire match since it first started.
Furthermore, Sudō should’ve already noticed the difference in their abilities.
After the 4-minute intermission was over, the second half of the match started.
Kitō guarded against Sudō tightly, and his movements were about twice as sharp as they were earlier.
[I knew it…! You bastard, so you were holding back, eh!?]
We could hear Sudō’s voice yelling through the monitor.
I knew from the beginning that Class A had been holding back in order to drag Sudō out onto the court.
However, there was no way to tell just how much of their potential they had been hiding until Sudō tried his hand against them.
Kitō fought fiercely, but Sudō was still a level above him.
He shook off Kitō’s defense and forced his way into Class A’s territory.
In order to stop him, Class A’s entire team desperately tried to hold back Sudō’s advances.
Despite the fact that Sudō was a head and shoulders above the rest, Class A’s players still seemed to be a step above his teammates.
The score was 17 to 13. While the point difference had grown wider, instead of slowing down, the opposing team’s movements gradually began to pick up pace.
[Oi Kitō, you son of a bitch, you know what you’re doin’, don’t you!?]
[Nah. You’re just being pressured by a bunch of amateurs.]
[Why would I be lying? My friends and I have only been practicing for less than a week now. It seems you’ve got a lot of confidence in your basketball skills, but you’re not all that impressive.]
Since there was no cheering going on in the background, we could just barely make out the exchange going on between Sudō and Kitō over the monitor.
Instigated by the fact that he was struggling against supposed amateurs, Sudō’s performance slowly began to lose some of its color.
“Fufu, that was a lie. Kitō-kun is an experienced basketball player.”
Having Kitō incite Sudō like this was most likely also part of Sakayanagi’s plan.
“By messing with his mentality like this, Sudō-kun will inevitably collapse. No matter how superior one’s technique really is, if the mind is still immature, it will give rise to an opportunity for someone to take advantage of you.”
The student named Kitō seemed to be quite skilled at playing basketball. He intentionally hid his abilities and played at an equal skill level as the students from Class C for the first half of the match. His goal was to stage a comeback once Sudō got on the court and steal the win.
And, if that didn’t work, he’d look to win by instigating a fight with Sudō to break his concentration.
It would be fair to say that Sakayanagi’s two-part strategy had completely poked a hole in our own.
“My team will be catching up with yours soon enough.”
Kitō cleanly sent the basketball flying straight into the basket. The score was now 17 to 15. Class A was definitely putting the pressure on.
Sudō’s mental turmoil had indeed nearly evened out the playing field.
“You said that Sudō’s mind is still immature, but… When exactly did you hear that?”
“What do you mean?”
Sudō had grown up a lot over this past year. Now, his willpower wouldn’t crumble because of something like this. He knew that there was no way that Horikita would care about how cool he was during the match. That would only come for carrying his team to victory.
Although his tone of voice was rough, the smoothness of his play returned. He overtook Kitō and made his way to the basket, and nobody was able to stop him. He finished off his run down the court with a dunk, once again extending the lead for Class C.
[Heh… I got a little bit heated there, but… there’s no way you’re beating me.]
Even though Kitō was a skilled player, with a calm mind, Sudō was easily a step or two above him.
“I see. So he’s done some growing up of his own?”
After that, Sudō’s mind didn’t waver again, and he brilliantly led the team until the end.
Eventually, the sound of the whistle rang out, signifying the end of the match.
[Hell yeah! I did it Suzune!]
Sudō struck a triumphant pose. He looked so excited that you’d think he had just won a basketball tournament.
It was only one win, but his excitement was well deserved given everything he had just accomplished.
“I thought we had a chance, but his skills really were on another level after all.”
Apparently, Sakayanagi had seriously set her sights on picking up the win, with or without Sudō on the court.
The final score was 24 to 16. The first event had come to an end with a splendid victory for Class C.
“Who would’ve thought that Class C would win first! You never really know when it comes to these things huh?”
Hoshinomiya-sensei mumbled her thoughts to herself, impressed with what had happened.
Though, despite our win, we had conceded one of our strongest assets in return.
It had been an event that literally required our victory from the moment he stepped out onto the court.