By REDintern Zachary Foo
PESEB, Evans Road, Friday, August 2, 2013 — Peicai Secondary stunned defending champions Catholic High 48–44 in the semi-final of the South Zone C Division Boys’ Basketball Championship. This was a rematch of the 2012 zone final where Catholic came out on top.
Darren Ng (Peicai #11) carried the team on his back, pouring in 32 points to lead all scorers in the game. He also scored the final six points of the game, to drag Peicai back from a two-point deficit to win by four.
The first quarter started out slow, as both teams struggled to find their rhythm on offence. Catholic High found success in containing Peicai’s key player, Darren (Peicai #11), through the use of double teams. There were even occasions where all three Catholic High front-court players had their hands up marking Darren in the post. Nevertheless, Darren (Peicai #11) was able to put up four points for his team in the quarter. Catholic High had issues scoring as well, as their physically small lineup could not find a way past Peicai’s larger front-court.
The game blew wide open in the second quarter. Catholic went on a 12–0 run with no Peicai response. Marcus Chang (Catholic High #7) was an integral part of that run, scoring five points in that span to pace his team. Darren (Peicai #11), who up to this point looked visibly exhausted from facing double and triple-teams, seemed to find his groove and helped Peicai claw back. He had an impressive sequence where he scored eight straight points for his team, highlighted by a play where he outmuscled three defenders in the paint to force the ball into the basket. Peicai managed to mitigate the damage and went into half-time down only five points.
In the third quarter, the atmosphere of the game started to get tense, as the lead changed hands multiple times. Catholic High switched to a small line-up, with Travis Thong (#4) and Luke Cheong (#5), two of the shortest players on court, in the back-court. They proved to be extremely effective in pressing the Peicai players, generating a lot of turnovers for Catholic High to capitalise on.
However, Peicai never backed down, relentlessly chipping away at the Catholic High lead. A lay-up by Lim Sheng Keat (Peicai #6) finally sent Peicai into the lead for the first time since the opening quarter.
The fourth quarter kicked up the intensity into another gear, as both teams got even more desperate, their motivation to get into the final becoming extremely evident. Players were diving on the floor for loose balls and both benches were screaming in support of their teammates.
There was a sequence where each team had three consecutive fastbreak opportunities, but failed to capitalise on any of them. Luke Cheong (Catholic High #5) finally broke the scoring drought by making a free-throw with two minutes to go, which put Catholic High up by two points.
Darren (Peicai #11) then brought his team the victory through a display of sheer willpower, bursting through Catholic High defenders with impunity and scoring at will. He scored six straight points to end the game. The highlight of the game was Darren’s final basket, when he sunk a baseline jumper over two defenders to ice the game as the clock wound down, drawing cheers from the crowd.
Peicai’s Bryann Ong (#7) said: “I am very happy with the win, as we achieved what we worked for. We look forward to facing Fairfield in the final. I hope we can make it to the top four of Nationals.”
Peicai’s top scorer, Darren Ng (#11) said: “I think I made quite a lot of mistakes early as I allowed them to wear me down with the double and triple-teams. I think in future games, we should cherish our lead and we need to remain composed at all times.”
Catholic High’s Marcus Chang (#7) said: “We had the lead but could not hold on to it. I think we missed a lot of shots from three, as well as a lot of free throws. I hope that at Nationals, we will go further than this, even though we lost this game. We want to prove to the other teams that we are better than this.”
Scoring by Quarter
Peicai vs Catholic High
1st Quarter: 6–8
2nd Quarter: 14–17 (20–25)
3rd Quarter: 15–9 (35–34)
4th Quarter: 13-10 (48–44)
Darren Ng Chang Le (#11) – 32 points
Alden Toh Kai Jie (#7) – 6 points
Luke Cheong (#5) – 11 points
Teh Jie Ren (#12) – 8 points
Tan Jing Yan Ervin (#4), Lim Gui Ann (#5), Lim Sheng Keat (#6), Alden Toh Kai Jie (#7), Porter Iglesias Lucas Jun Hao (#8), Bryann Ong Wen Jun (#9), Thanaboon Chan (#10), Darren Ng Chang Le (#11), Ling Wan Loong (#12), Tan Kang Rui (#13), Nicholas Lim Jun Yang (#14), James Yeo (#15)
Catholic High Roster
Travis Thong (#4), Luke Cheong (#5), Fan Yao En (#6), Marcus Chang (#7), Kieran Lim (#8), Lek Jie Wei (#9), Pang Chin Lim (#10), Choon Leng (#11), Teh Jie Ren (#12), Lloyd Ng (#13), Chow Wei Yang (#14), Keith Png (#15)
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