Story By Zachary Foo/Red Sports. Photos by Joseph Lee/Red Sports
Jurong East Sports Hall, Monday, September 2, 2013 — Unity Secondary wrapped up a golden year in basketball for the school with a thrilling 67–64 win over Dunman Secondary in the final of the National C Division Boys’ Basketball Championship. After winning the B Division title earlier in the year, this marks the first double for Unity since records were kept in 1988.
For Dunman, they suffered heartbreak for the second year running. In 2012, they lost narrowly to Catholic High in the C Division final.
Thng Yong-An (Unity #9) led all scorers with 31 points, while Darren Ng Jian Liang (Dunman #6) poured in 17 points in a spirited effort. John Christopher (Unity #7) was the hero of the game, nailing a crucial 3-pointer when Unity were down by a point with 12 seconds left.
Coming into the match, Unity had lost their last two games against Dunman, with one loss coming in Round 2, and the other in the 2012 semi-final. The psychological advantage was with Dunman.
However, it was Unity that started the first quarter strong, racing out to a 6–2 lead early. They had the edge in the rebounding battle and were able to funnel passes to their players up court. John Christopher was a beneficiary, dropping four points in that sequence.
There was a cause for concern for Unity when Tan Min Hui (#10), a key contributor in previous games, crumpled to the ground with what seemed to be a shoulder issue. Dunman were able to find their way back in the game, capitalising on Unity misses with fast break baskets.
Min Hui (Unity #10) seemed well enough to check back into the game in the second quarter. He made a statement on the first play, swatting away Zeng Ming Hao’s (Dunman #8) layup attempt.
Unity’s offense seemed to be in disarray at this point in time. They were rotating the ball aimlessly on the perimeter and followed up with ill-advised shots late in the quarter. Dunman took full opportunity to close the gap, securing crucial rebounds and making shots when it mattered. They were a little lax on defense, but Unity were unable to take advantage of it. This left the scores tied at 25 at half-time.
Yong-An (Unity #9) caught fire in the third quarter, keeping his team in the game with 11 straight points in the first five minutes. He was virtually unguardable, beating his man and nailing jumper after jumper each time. Dunman were unfazed and were able to find a reply each time. A Darren Ng (Dunman #6) jumpshot gave Dunman the lead with two minutes left but Unity replied with six unanswered points to close out the quarter, giving them a four-point, 46–42 lead.
The final quarter was extremely fast-paced. Dunman took advantage of Unity’s lack of an interior presence, corralling missed rebounds and scoring them. However, their defense was letting them down, giving up open looks that Unity were able to convert.
Darren Ng (Dunman #9) was visibly carrying his team at this point, making big plays at all the right moments. Scoring a foul-in and tying the game at 60, then followed that up with a fake move on the right baseline that lead into a turnaround jumper, sending the crowd into waves of euphoria.
But Unity were not out of the fight yet. Coming out of the ensuing timeout, John Christopher (Unity #7) nailed a three from the right baseline, making amends for an earlier missed shot and giving his team a two-point lead.
On the next possession, with the title on the line, Dunman cracked when it mattered the most, as their shot rimmed out of the basket. John Christopher (Unity #7) was able to ice the game, sinking one free-throw to give Unity a well-deserved 67–64 win.
Yong-An (Unity #9) was visibly excited by the win. “It feels great to win my fourth National title since primary school! I think the team played well in what is our last C Division game and I am glad we did our best. We did the school proud by bringing home the Double for both boys’ teams!”
Scoring by Quarter
Unity Secondary vs Dunman Secondary
2nd Quarter:12–14 (25–25)
3rd Quarter:21–17 (46–42)
4th Quarter:21–22 (67–64)
Thng Yong-An (#9) – 31 points (2 x 3-pointers)
John Christopher (#7) – 23 points (1 x 3-pointer)
Darren Ng Jian Liang (#6) – 17 points
Declan Goh (#15) – 16 points
Markus Lin Wei Sheng (#4), Lok Jun Jie (#5) Aloysius Low Wei Ting (#6), John Christopher (#7), Gan Zhi Guan (#8), Thng Yong-An (#9) , Tan Min Hui (#10), Liu En Hong (#11), Matthew Choo Ming-En (#12), Gabriel Khoo Wei Long (#13), Sheares Ang (#14), Victor Benedict V.Montallana (#15)
Dino Chew An Wei (#4), Cedric Lim Meng Wee (#5), Darren Ng Jian Liang (#6), Benedict Ong Jun Rong (#7), Zeng Ming Hao (#8), Mohamed Shukri in Manaf (#9), Koh Jun Hao (#10), Chua Sheng Da (#11), Aloysious Lim Shao En (#12), Jeffrey Chao Hao Jie (#13), Raymond Chu Siang (#14), Declan Goh (#15)
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