Tan Jun Wei (HCI #8) goes for the basket as he is challenged by his AJC opponents. (Photo 1 © Lai Jun Wei/Red Sports)

Toa Payoh Sports Hall, Friday, May 18, 2012 – Favourites Hwa Chong Institution rode a furious onslaught from Anderson Junior College to clinch their seventh consecutive National A Division Boys’ Basketball Championship title with a gritty 66-53 win.

Boasting a plethora of national youth team players, Hwa Chong had come into the game on the back of an unbeaten record throughout the entire season. Their relaxed confidence was plain for the crowds to see as they attempted to showcase their skills with warm up dunks before the game.

Yet the script did not go according to plan as Anderson came out of the blocks firing after going behind early. Anderson surprised with a 15-13 lead going into the first quarter break with point guard Tee Chai Sim (#15) contributing six points for his team. Chai Sim’s crucial role in the Anderson squad was recognized early by the Hwa Chong coaching staff as Hwa Chong’s Raymond Loo (#10) stuck to him like a leech throughout the game.

Despite the tight attentions by his marker, Chai Sim sparked his team to a 9-0 run to start the second quarter for Anderson’s biggest lead of the ball game at 24-13.

Hwa Chong’s offense was strangely out of sync during this period and they committed a few uncharacteristic turnovers due to a scrambling Anderson defense. At the other end, Anderson’s could have extended their lead if not for an errant pass Ng Yee Jian (#7) who finished the game with four points.

Hwa Chong’s Chee Khan Liang (#7) then ended his team’s barren spell with a fast break lay up and Hwa Chong subsequently went on a 17-4 run to snatch a slim 30-28 lead going into the half-time break. Hwa Chong’s forward Tan Jun Wei (#8) scored seven of his 14 points in the second quarter alone in his team’s run.

One distinguishing element of the match was the physicality displayed by both sets of players as they tussled for the ball and refused to give an inch to their opponents in defense.

It was to be no different in the third quarter. Players had to fight through hard screens and turnovers were aplenty, which made for exciting and heart-stopping viewing for the fans.

Anderson’s Chai Sim provided the highlight with a rare opportunity for a 4-point play as he was fouled by Hwa Chong’s Khan Liang while making a 3-point shot. He missed the subsequent free throw though and Hwa Chong enjoyed the slight edge with a 46-42 lead going into the final quarter.

You always had the sense though that Anderson’s physical exertions in the first three quarters of the game would come back to haunt them.

Hwa Chong’s Lee Lai Sheng (#11) went down due to an unfortunate ankle injury after contributing 10 points for his team but the greater loss was for Anderson when Chai Sim landed awkwardly after attempting a jump shot. Bereft of their inspirational captain, a fast tiring Anderson side struggled for ideas at the offensive end as Hwa Chong seized full advantage with a 10-4 run to put the game out of reach.

Anderson tried gamely to play catch up as Chai Sim returned to the game and scored on a long 3-pointer with a minute left on the clock but it was too late to overcome a 11-point deficit with Hwa Chong leading 64-53 at that point.

Hwa Chong’s point guard Rolu (#4) controlled the game well for the defending champions in the final minute and teammate Peter Soo (#4) added a dunk as time expired. It was not counted though and Hwa Chong went on to clinch one of two A Division titles on offer with a 66-53 win.

Score by Quarter
Hwa Chong Institution v Anderson Junior College
1st Q: 13-15
2nd Q: 17-13 (30-28)
3rd Q: 16-14 (46-42)
4th Q: 20-13
Final score: 66-53

Top Scorers
Hwa Chong Institution
Tan Jun Wei (#8) – 14 points
David Soo (#6) – 12 points
Lee Lai Sheng (#11) – 10 points
Loo Jian Wei Raymond (#10) – 6 points
Chun Wang Xuan (#15) – 6 points
Peter Soo (#4) – 5 points
Chee Khan Liang (#7) – 5 points

Anderson Junior College
Tee Chai Sim (#15) — 22 points
Wong Lu Kwang Andrew (#10) – 8 points
Lim Chong Mou (#5) – 5 points
Ng Yee Jian (#7) – 4 points
Mohamed Danish Han (#8) – 4 points
Chong Yih Pin (#11) – 4 points
Ang Wei Quan Matthew (#4) – 3 points

HCI Team Roster
Peter Soo Zheng Yi (#4), Austin Cheung Cooper (#5), David Soo Zheng Jie (#6), Chee Khan Liang (#7), Tan Jun Wei (#8), Ang Shihe (#9), Loo Jian Wei Raymond (#10), Lee Lai Sheng (#11), Rolu Monilla Oyekanmi (#12), Cheong Rong Hao (#13), Tan Kai Shawn (#14), Chun Wang Xuan (#15)

AJC Team Roster
Ang Wei Quan Matthew (#4), Lim Chong Mou (#5), Ang Zhen Qian Kellson (#6), Ng Yee Jian (#7), Mohamed Danish Han B M I H (#8), Daren Yap Yong Zhi (#9), Wong Lu Kwang Andrew (#10), Chong Yih Pin (#11), Seow Chze Kuan (#12), Tan Yu Shu Gareth (#13), Bryant Tan Yi Hao (#14), Tee Chai Sim (#15)

For more photos, go to the next page.