CCAB, Monday, January 30, 2012 — It was a day of surprising results with the underdogs throwing the form book out of the window.
Guangyang Secondary led the way with a gritty 29-26 win over the 2010 South Zone C Division basketball champions Raffles Institution, while Fairfield Methodist came from behind for an improbable 56-44 win over the runners-up Pei Cai Secondary in that same competition.
Both Guangyang and Raffles Institution had come into the game with an undefeated record for the 2012 season. Aware of the stakes involved in the game, they started the game somewhat tentatively, with Guangyang earning a slight 6-4 advantage after the first quarter. However, the boys in green soon replied with an 8-4 run in the second quarter to finish a low-scoring first half 12-10 ahead.
In the third quarter, Guangyang began to exploit their height advantage by directing their offense through their centre #11. He scored three of his seven points in that quarter alone while moping up his team’s defensive rebounds. Raffles were often held to a one-shot opportunity with each attack, and this accounted for their low scoring four-point production in that quarter.
Raffles forward #13 scored all his team’s two baskets in the third quarter, and was the top scorer for the game with 17 points.
His contribution, together with his point guard teammate Zhuang Bao Kun’s (#11) eight points, was not enough to propel his team to the win though.
Guangyang led by as much as 8 points in the fourth quarter before Raffles Institution mounted a furious comeback. Raffles were thus able to close the gap to 26-29 with about a minute left on the clock. However their efforts fell short as Guangyang’s experienced point guard #6 was able to hold on to the ball while running the clock out. Despite him missing four straight free throws towards the end of the game, Guangyang managed to hold on for a win and qualify as top of the group.
Raffles Institution completed the first round as runners-up in the group.
In another tense first round group C match, Fairfield Methodist Secondary’s hope of qualifying for the second round depended hugely on their result against Pei Cai Secondary. Fairfield Methodist had earlier lost a game to National Junior College by two points while Pei Cai remained the only unbeaten team in the group.
Pei Cai jumped out to a 5-0 early lead and went on to secure the first quarter comfortably 20-11. Pei Cai’s forward Andy Tan (#7) scored eight points in that quarter alone, including two 3-pointers for his team’s advantage. More impressive was the fact that five other players in the Pei Cai roster contributed to their team’s first quarter scoring spree, demonstrating the strength in depth of the team.
Pei Cai’s point guard Low Zi Hao (#9) took over in the second quarter, scoring two from beyond the 3-point arc for six of his eight points in the quarter alone. Fairfield Methodist kept themselves in the game though with centre #15 and forward #7 contributing five and four points respectively for their team. Pei Cai enjoyed a decent 32-24 lead at the half.
The third quarter saw the Fairfield team increase their defensive intensity to limit the free scoring Pei Cai team to a mere eight points. Fairfield’s point guard #9 also did well to direct his team’s attacks while scoring seven of his team’s 14 points in that quarter. Pei Cai watched their lead dwindle to a mere two points by the end of the third quarter.
The fourth quarter proved to be a blowout for Pei Cai as Fairfield’s energetic forwards blitzed their opponents with a 19-4 run. Shots that seemed to go in easily in the first half for the Pei Cai players proved to be elusive in the final quarter. On the other hand, Fairfield simply could not miss as they scored on a variety of jumpers, lay ups and put backs from under the basket against their fast-tiring opponents.
The end result saw Fairfield Methodist a comfortable 56-44 winner to qualify for the second round in first place. Pei Cai though, can console themselves with a place in the second round as well.
Ed’s Note: If you know the names of the players, please put it in the comments. Thanks.