By Ian Chew and Delphine Goh
Tan Jia Qi (Nanyang #5) manages to release a shot as she forces her way through the Dunman defense. She was the hero of the match as her shots at the end of the fourth quarter secured Nanyang’s lead to give them the title. (Photo 1 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)
Jurong East Sports Hall, Thursday, April 26, 2012 — Tan Jia Qi (#5) of Nanyang Girls’ High School scored the crucial go-ahead 3-point basket with less than a minute left on the clock to lift her team to a hard fought 54-49 win over defending champions, Dunman Secondary. With the victory, Nanyang Girls’ take home the National B Division Girls’ Basketball Championship challenge trophy for the first time since 2002.
Yet their cause to regain the title they last won a decade ago seemed lost when they trailed by five points with less than three minutes to do. Dunman forward Nur Syafirah (#10) had rallied her team admirably to an 11-1 run starting midway through the third quarter to establish a 39-34 lead. It helped Dunman’s cause when Nanyang went through a barren spell during this period, missing on all their attempts from the field and committing many uncharacteristic turnovers.
However Nanyang did not give up but redoubled their efforts to overturn the deficit.
“I told the team to believe in themselves and keep trying,” said James Ong, Head of Nanyang’s physical education department. “The shot that she (Jia Qi) scored at the end displayed the heart of a team that believed they could accomplish it (win the game)!”
Nanyang scored 10 points within the first five minutes of the opening quarter, with Chan Chu Yin (#6) and Tan Jiaqi (#5) both managing a 3-pointer each. Dunman soon caught up though, and evened the score at 10-10. In the last 30 seconds of the first quarter, Chan Chu Yin (#6) from Nanyang scored another 3-pointer to giver her team a 15-10 lead.
Dunman reduced the deficit in the second quarter and trailed by just two points at half-time as Nanyang led 24-22.
Dunman outscored Nanyang 12-10 in the third quarter to tie the game up at 34-34 to set the stage for the heart-stopping fourth quarter.
The distraught Dunman team can take heart from their strong performance in their run to the final. They had edged out perennial favourites Anglican High School 66-58 in an earlier semi-final in an equally exciting match.
Anglican High emerged third place in the championship with a 59-50 victory over Christ Church Secondary, who took fourth place.
Scoring by Quarter
Nanyang Girls’ v Dunman
1st Q: 15-10
2nd Q: 9-12 (24-22)
3rd Q: 10-12 (34-34)
4th Q: 20-15
Final score: 54-49
Nanyang Girls’ High
Tan Jia Qi (#5) — 16 points
Chan Chu Yin (#6) — 14 points
Sia Si Qin, Charlene (#8) — 10 points
Crystal Yong Yun Han (#4) — 7 points
Nur Syafirah (#8) — 12 points
Tan Yue Ting (#14) — 11 points
Sharon Lee Mi Yun (#11) — 10 points
Laanya Asogan (#7) — 7 points
Nanyang Girls’ Lineup
Crystal Yong Yun Han (#4), Tan Jia Qi (#5), Chan Chu Yin (#6), Isabel Lee Jiale (#7), Sia Si Qin Charlene (#8), Mandy Leoh Yun Wan (#9), Cheryl Ong Pei Ling (#10), Veronique Yue (#11), Zhao Yalian (#12), Lin Yuan (#13), Liew Wan Ting Clarissa (#14), Yang Yilin (#15)
Christin Teo Qi Shan (#4), Nabilah Abdl Rasid (#5), Si Xu Vongsuvanish (#6), Laanya Asogan (#7), Ong Sin Kee (#8), Lee Hui Xin (#9), Nur Syafirah (#10), Sharon Lee Mi Yun (#11), Soh Jia Xuan (#12), Rafizan Roslan (#13), Tan Yue Ting (#14), Nur Harita Binte Mohd Tahir (#15)
For more photos, go to the next page.