By REDintern Tay Jun Wen

canberra vs ahmad ibrahim north zone b div bball

Jacky Lim (#14) and Gabryl Koh (#7) of Canberra celebrate their win while Leong Jun Yuan (#9) of Ahmad Ibrahim can only think of what could have been. (Photo © Les Tan/Red Sports)


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Singapore Basketball Centre, Monday, March 4, 2013 – Canberra Secondary edged past Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary 66-64 to qualify for their first-ever final in the North Zone B Division Boys’ Basketball Championship.

In the last four years, Canberra have come close to making it to the zonal semi-finals. This year, the team, coached by ex-Slinger Hong Wei Jian, finally made the step up.

It was a tension-filled game throughout that saw Aaron Sim (#9) of Canberra and Choo Yi Zhao (#5) of Ahmad Ibrahim finishing as joint-top scorers with 23 points each. Aaron had four 3-pointers while Yi Zhao sank three.

It was an even first quarter, with Canberra taking a slim one-point, 19-18 the lead after 10 minutes to the cheers of a large contingent of Canberra spectators who filled the hall with the sound of their cheers.

Undeterred by the overpowering cheers, Lakksman S/O Ganapathy (#13) used his size to his advantage to muscle his way through opponents and score points for Ahmad Ibrahim.

A combined team effort saw Ahmad Ibrahim outscore Canberra in the second quarter by two points, 13-11, and head into half-time with an overall one-point 31-30 lead.

It was a tension-filled third quarter as players started to get more physical. In a collision, Lakksman tripped and fell on an already fallen Aaron. Though no harm was intended, Canberra saw it otherwise.

“We had a lot of foul trouble in this game,” said Ahmad Ibrahim’s co-captain, Yi Zhao.

Canberra were able to keep their cool. The third quarter saw Canberra picking up 21 points to Ahmad Ibrahim’s 14, and they took a six-point, 51-45 lead into the fourth.

There was even more drama in the last quarter. Aaron, key in helping Canberra stay ahead of Ahmad Ibrahim, fouled out. Even before the start of the fourth quarter, his teammate Jacky Lim (#14) had already fouled out.

Canberra’s captain, Anthony Tan (#6), said: “We committed too many fouls in the first half and it placed pressure on the team in the second half.”

To make matters worse for Canberra, Anthony, Gabryl Koh (#7) and Chong Wen Xuan (#15) were all a foul away from being fouled out. The five of them were the starting five for Canberra.

Ahmad Ibrahim also found themselves committing too many fouls. During the fourth quarter, Akhigbe Ikhide (#8), Nikos Go (#12) and Wong Chee Kian (#15) of Ahmad Ibrahim all fouled out as time went by. Lakksman was just another foul away from his fifth personal foul and leaving the game for good.

“We need to commit less fouls,” said Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary’s other co-captain, Nikos.

Despite foul trouble, Ahmad Ibrhaim reduced Canberra’s lead to just one point at 57-58. Canberra’s captain, Anthony, then scored a free throw to give his team a two-point lead but Lakksman came back with a basket to tie it up at 59-59. Yi Zhao then scored four unanswered points to give Ahmad Ibrahim a 63-59 lead.

Canberra reacted and scored four more free throws, two each from Tan Yi Yong (#4) and Ryan Wong (#12), to tie the game up again at 63-63. Ryan scored another free throw, giving Canberra a one-point, 64-63. Ahmad Ibrahim’s Leong Jun Yuan (#9) replied to tie up again, this time at 64-64.

With time running out, Gabryl Koh of Canberra finally scored what proved to be the winning basket, sending the Canberra crowd into an uproar.

The score was now 66-64 with Canberra in the lead.

Ahmad Ibrahim made multiple final attacks but were simply unable to finish. With less than five seconds on the clock and the ball in Canberra’s possession, Wen Xuan tossed the ball across the entire court. Before the ball hit the ground, the buzzer went for full-time.

Canberra will face North Vista in the final next Monday, March 11th, 2.45pm, at the Singapore Basketball Centre.

Canberra’s captain, Anthony said: “It will be another good fight with North Vista.”

For Ahmad Ibrahim, they will now challenge Presbyterian High for third place on Wednesday, March 6th, at 2.30pm. The game will also be played at SBC.

Despite the loss, Ahmad Ibrahim’s vice-captain, Ikhide, focused on the positive.

“We did well in our passes and communication today,” said Ikhide.

Score by Quarter
Canberra vs Ahmad Ibrahim
1st Q: 19-18
2nd Q: 11-13 (30-31)
3rd Q: 21-14 (51-45)
4th Q: 15-19 (66-64)

Top Scorers
Sim An Rong Aaron (#9) – 23 points
Gabryl Russel Koh Jun Hon (#7) – 16 points

Ahmad Ibrahim
Choo Yi Zhao (#5) – 23 points
Go Yun Liang Nikos (#12) – 13 points

Canberra Roster
Tan Yi Yong (#4), Lee Xuan Yan (#5), Anthony Tan Jun Hong (#6), Gabryl Russel Koh Jun Hon (#7), Lim Teck Leong (#8), Sim An Rong Aaron (#9), Han Zhi Guang (#10), Portugal Brix Behona (#11), Wong Yu Heng Ryan (#12), Leon Sim Tze Hao (#13), Jacky Lim Teck Leng (#14), Chong Wen Xuan (#15)

Ahmad Ibrahim Roster
Samuel Ang Wee Teck (#4), Choo Yi Zhao (#5), Lau Beng Yew (#6), Benedict Oh Sheng Yang (#7), Akhigbe Aigbokhaivbho Ikhide (#8), Leong Jun Yuan (#9), Cohen Chong (#10), Wee Zhi Ming (#11), Go Yun Liang Nikos (#12), Lakksman S/O Ganapathy (#13), Cuison John Michael Diaz (#14), Wong Chee Kian (#15)

2013 North Zone B Division Basketball Championship — fixtures and results

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