Wong Wei Long (Slingers #5) hands off the ball. Wei Long chipped in with 13 points and 2 assists to finish the game as the third highest scoring Slinger. (Photo 1 © Vanessa Lim/Red Sports)
Singapore Indoor Stadium, Sunday, April 1, 2012 — Kyle Jeffers played a starring role for the Singapore Slingers with 17 points and 20 rebounds in his team’s emphatic 81-70 victory over the visiting Malaysia Dragons. With the win, the Slingers now have a 6-9 win-loss record and improve their league position to fifth. Only the top four qualify for the playoffs.
Ever since former Slinger Kyle Jeffers replaced Donald Little midway through the season, the Slingers have been transformed into a top-four contender team in terms of performance on the court. His hustle plays and outstanding defense on his opponents helped stem a seven-game losing streak, resulting in a breakthrough away win against the Thailand Slammers two weeks ago.
It was to be no different in the home game against the Dragons.
Sensing a possible home win for the taking, the Slingers came out blazing with an 8-4 early lead. They continued to stifle their opponents in defense to extend their lead to 16-4 at the end of the first quarter.
The Dragons compounded their recent woes by missing several shots underneath the basket to convert only two of their 12 attempts in the first quarter for a 17% scoring percentage. They had started the game on the back of four consecutive losses and were quickly staring at a fifth one.
Yet for all the Dragons’ efforts to close the deficit, the Slingers managed to keep them at bay by maintaining their lead throughout the game. Slinger forward Louis Graham led all scorers with 24 points while local lad Wong Wei Long chipped in with 13 points and 2 assists to finish the game as the third highest scoring Slinger.
The Slingers did face some worrying moments in the fourth quarter when Graham picked up his fifth foul to exit the game with three minutes left on the clock. The Dragons tried to take advantage with some 3-point shots but the ever dependable Jeffers put in two crucial back-to-back baskets in the paint to maintain a 10-point cushion for the Slingers.
Yet coach Neo Beng Siang was still not satisfied with Kyle’s performance.
“I expected him to score at least 30 points with the number of chances he had!” he quipped. Yet he attributed the win to the teamwork displayed by his players and was optimistic about the chances of the Slingers finishing the season in a top-four position.
“If we win the rest of our home games and two out of three of the remaining away games, we would stand a good chance,” he said.
Another player not satisfied with his performance was Wong Wei Long.
“I made a few bad decisions with my shot selection and will work to improve (on that),” he said. Yet the team’s win would ultimately be the most satisfying part of the evening for him.
The Slingers next enjoy a three-week break before taking on the Bangkok Cobras at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Sunday, April 22nd, at 4pm.
Scoring by Quarters
1st Q: 16-4
2nd Q: 22-22 (38-26)
3rd Q: 19-20 (57-46)
4th Q: 24-24 (81-70)
Looking for the Slingers’ fixture schedule? All here: Singapore Slingers 2012 ABL Fixtures
Louis Graham (Slingers #24) takes aims. Louis had a game-high 24 points. (Photo 2 © Vanessa Lim/Red Sports)
Kyle Jeffers (Slingers #31) looks for a way to the basket. Jeffers played a starring role for the Slingers with 17 points and 20 rebounds. (Photo 3 © Vanessa Lim/Red Sports)