Story and photos by Les Tan/Red Sports
Nethanel Ng (PHS #11) takes on Myron Lim (North Vista #11). Nethanel finished with a team-high 17 points. (Photo 1 © Les Tan/Red Sports)
Singapore Basketball Centre, Thursday, March 10, 2011 — Presbyterian High overcame a slow start to beat North Vista Secondary 67-53 in the final of the North Zone B Division Basketball Championship.
North Vista, the defending champions, are a different team this year without the services of Youth Olympic Games player Larry Liew who has graduated.
For Presbyterian High, they have gone one step further than in 2010 when they were stopped by Yishun Secondary at the semi-final stage. This year, they overcame Seng Kang Secondary 85-70 in the semi-finals to make the final.
Presbyterian High remain unbeaten and take a perfect 11-0 win-loss record into the national championship which they last won in 2009.
“In the first quarter, we were quite sloppy but I’m happy that we were able to fight through,” said Presbyterian High captain Nethanel Ng.
His teammates, Ng Jun Jie and Tan Yee Tat, injured themselves during the third quarter, throwing off the Presbyterian High momentum.
“Yee Tat injured his left knee while JJ (Jun Jie) sprained his ankle,” said Nethanel. Jun Jie had sprained the same ankle in a previous game. While Jun Jie was walking on his own strength after the game, Yee Tat needed some help to leave the court.
Presbyterian High started slowly and soon found themselves trailing 0-6, going scoreless for the opening three and a half minutes. However, they woke up and by the 4:56 mark, had tied it up 8-8.
Presbyterian High trailed by one (13-14) at the end of the first quarter with Tan Yee Tat (PHS #12) leading his side with five points while Lai Wei Chang (North Vista #9) was responsible for six out of his team’s 14 first-quarter points.
Presbyterian High, who were on average physically shorter than North Vista, soon hit their trademark high-speed, pass-and-move game in the second quarter and established a six-point lead when Aaron Wong (#9) sank a jumper.
Ng Jun Jie (PHS #7) then exploded for 11 points in the second quarter with Chen Zhe Yuan (PHS #8) adding one three-pointer to ensure that Presbyterian High led by five points (36-31) at half-time. Khoo Teck Xian (North Vista #14) led his team with a 3-pointer as part of his five-point haul in the second quarter.
Zhe Yuan sank another 3-pointer in the third at the 6:43 mark to give Presbyterian High a nine-point lead at 42-33 but then North Vista had a mini-revival as Presbyterian High lost Jun Jie and Yew Tat to injuries. North Vista narrowed the gap and only trailed by three (41-44) with 2:35 left in the third quarter.
However, Presbyterian High got going again and soon had a 10-point 51-41 lead with a Nethanel Ng layup ending the scoring in the third quarter.
Presbyterian High led by nine (60-51) with 2:08 left but handled whatever North Vista could come up with to wrap up a 14-point, 67-53 victory and clinch the zonal title they last won in 2009, also against the same school.
Presbyterian High and North Vista will be joined by Yishun Secondary and Seng Kang Secondary in the national championship round. Yishun beat Seng Kang 68-54 to finish third in the North Zone.
“Unity, Anglican High, Dunman and North Vista,” said Nethanel Ng, when asked about who he thought are the strong teams in the national championship.
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