Story and pictures by Les Tan
Singapore Basketball Centre, Tuesday, April 15, 2008 – Raffles Girls’ School outplayed Singapore Chinese Girls’ School 59-46 in their National B Division Basketball Championship semi-final this afternoon to secure their place in the final.
The whole game turned on the last five minutes of the third quarter when RGS suffocated the SCGS attack with a successful three-quarter full court press, restricting them to just two points. Up until that point, SCGS had raised hopes of an upset when they pulled level at 24-24 with 5:40 left on the clock but RGS changed tactics to devastating effect to stem the SCGS tide.
Before this turning point, SCGS were always in the game. In the first quarter, SCGS came to within two points of RGS, trailing 7-9 before a three-point basket by #9 of RGS ensured her team walked off leading 14-9 at the end of the first.
The second quarter saw more of the same as SCGS chased the game with RGS always comfortably ahead. Sara Choong (#11) of SCGS then forced RGS into a tactical rethink when she sank two straight baskets with 3:12 left on the clock and what was then a 19-12 game for RGS suddenly became an uncomfortable 19-16 game.
An RGS timeout was called to regroup and the team in green came out to double-team SCGS’ Sara Choong. Dogged defending by RGS plus technical mistakes by SCGS ensured that RGS walked off at the end of the second quarter 22-18 ahead.
Excitement went up a notch in the third when SCGS finally tied it up at 24-24 forcing the RGS team again into a timeout and tactical rethink. That’s when they came back on court with their suffocating defence to shut down the entire SCGS team, especially Sara Choong. By the time RGS walked off the court at the end of the third quarter, they were again comfortably ahead by 12 points at 39-27. SCGS were outfought.
An RGS victory seemed all but certain throughout the fourth quarter. With three minutes to go, RGS led 49-40, the nine-point gap the closest SCGS got to RGS. In a series of defensive and offensive plays that typified RGS’ domination, a layup by SCGS’ #5 Sarah was swatted from her hand by Hannah Ng. Swinging into attack, Hannah passed it out quickly to Vienna Chua (#7). The ball then found its way into the hands of Cheng Chia (#6) who sold a dummy to an SCGS player before slipping it into the path of Joanne Ho charging in on her right to finish off for two. A slick transition from defense to attack that combined power, pace and teamwork.
RGS will now face Nanyang Girls’ High who beat Unity 53-46 in the other semi-final. The final is scheduled for Tuesday, April 22, 2008, at Toa Payoh Sports Hall. Game time is 2:00 p.m.
N.B. If you know the names of the players, please leave them in the comments section with reference to the photo number and we’ll update the captions. Thanks. I must say that it is very helpful to have the names of the players printed on the jerseys as RGS has done.