By Lim Yu-Han/Red Sports
Jurong East Sports Hall, Wednesday, May 22, 2013 — Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) defeated arch-rivals Raffles Institution (RI) 45–25 to be crowned the National A Division Basketball champions. They wrenched back their championship title from RI, who broke their four-year winning streak (2008 to 2011) last year. This is the eight time in the last 10 years that HCI have clinched the National A Division Girls’ Basketball Championship.
The final opened with HCI executing a tight man-to-man defence, as RI struggled to convert their attempts throughout the low-scoring first quarter. HCI led 4–2 at four minutes as RI fought to penetrate the suffocating HCI defence.
On many occasions, it was simply a race against the 24-second shot clock for RI, resulting in several turnovers. Wu You (#15) of RI sunk in an equaliser with one minute left on the clock but HCI’s Chan Chu Yin (#6) sent the crowd roaring with her three-pointer which gave them a 9–6 to end the quarter.
The second quarter saw RI struggling again to attempt attacks before the shot-clock sounded. Multiple valiant attempts by the RI centers to sink in an underbasket exasperated the crowd as the ball simply spun off the rim try after try. Gladys Molino (#8) of RI finally ended her team’s frustration with a jumper. She was instrumental in RI’s team-play, organising various attacks and orchestrating swift intercepts.
However, HCI’s Freda Chua (#12) replied swiftly with her two in the paint, spurring teammate Jia Qi (#15) to do a speedy intercept and fast-break. It was HCI’s Chu Yin (#6) again who ended the second quarter with her jumper to give HCI a 19–11 lead.
HCI outmuscled RI for many of their rebounds in the second half, securing many possessions. They left no chance for mistakes with their intercepts as the RI players hesitated before making their moves, be it passing or attempting shots. These missed opportunities proved costly to RI as they trailed 13–28 at five minutes.
HCI’s Edna Lim (#9) impressed the crowd with her foul-in and subsequent free throw and the third quarter ended with Foo Yuan Ru (#14) of HCI bravely penetrating the RI fortress to score her lay-up for a 35–15 lead.
The last quarter began with Soh Jia Xuan (#14) of RI sinking in a basket, narrowing the deficit with another free throw. Teammate Gladys (#8) did not disappoint with her smooth jumper but HCI’s Charlene Sia (#8) came back swiftly with her fast-break. Despite Jia Xuan’s (#14) three-pointer, RI still lost too much possession from their mispasses as HCI capitalised on every mispass to convert.
Chin Wan Qing (#5) of HCI did a three after a time-out, motivating teammate Freda (#12) to maneuver past the RI defensive wall to score another. Freda (#12) ended the game 45–25 with her jumper at the free throw line to see HCI clinch the championship this year.
Captain of HCI, Edna Lim (#9), was overjoyed with the win. “It was good that we remained composed and executed both our defence and offense well. I feel that we believed in ourselves and re-grouped when we needed to.”
Ri’s captain Georgia May Goh (#12) was proud of the fight her team had put up. “Teamwork was most important. We continued with a hard fight till the end, and that’s all that matters: That we tried and fought our best, without regrets.”
Chu Yin (#6) of HCI, a Year 1 student, was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) in this year’s final. A happy Chu Yin commented graciously about her title: “Everyone contributed a lot and this MVP is not for personal glory, but the team.” Chu Yin has played basketball since young, joining Pei Chun Primary School’s basketball team and training under Nanyang Girls’ High in secondary school.
Score by Quarter
HCI vs RI
1st Quarter: 9–6
2nd Quarter: 10–5 (19–11)
3rd Quarter: 16–4 (35–15)
4th Quarter: 10–10 (45–25)
Chan Chu Yin (#6) – 10 points (1 x 3-pointers)
Freda Chua Zhi Yun (#12) – 9 points
Tan Jia Qi (#15) – 6 points
Soh Jia Xuan (#14) – 12 points (1 x 3-pointers)
Gladys Marie Lucin Molino (#8) – 8 points
Crystal Yong Yun Han (#4), Chin Wan Qing (#5), Chan Chu Yin (#6), Joey Tan Jiao Jie (#7), Sia Si Qin Charlene (#8), Lim Yi Jieh Edna (#9), Yang Yilin (#10), Mandy Leoh Yun Wan (#11), Freda Chua Zhi Yun (#12), Leah-Diane Warden Xiu Yu (#13), Foo Yuan Ru (#14), Tan Jia Qi (#15)
Cheryl Pay Wei Lin (#4), Foong Zi Xin Rebecca (#5), Joycelyn Chia Kit Ye (#6), Low Jia Hui Pamela (#7), Gladys Marie Lucin Molino (#8), Ong Qiu Hui (#9), Tan Chu Qing Yolanda (#10), Barcelo Penielle Marisse T (#11), Georgia May Goh Xin Ying (#12), Isabel Wong Ee Ler (#13), Soh Jia Xuan (#14), Wu You (#15)
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