Story by Zachary Foo/Red Sports. Photos by Joseph Lee/Red Sports
ITE College West, Wednesday, November 13, 2013 — Institute of Technical Education (ITE) rode a quick start to notch a 68–67 win over Republic Polytechnic (RP) in the Polytechnic-Institute of Technical Education (POL-ITE) Basketball Championship. Chu Jia Jia (ITE #16) topped all scorers with 31 points. Ilina Gan (RP #39) led her team with 25 points.
This was RP’s first black mark in the tournament, giving them a 3–1 record after four games. They face Temasek Polytechnic (TP) in their final match to determine their seeding for the upcoming Institute-Varsity-Polytechnic (IVP) Games. ITE also have a 3–1 record after their surprise win and will face Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) in their final game.
ITE came out of the gates firing on all cylinders as Jia Jia (ITE #16) controlled the offence and drove aggressively. She caught the RP defence napping on a few occasions, as she was able to drain an open shot or hand it off to a teammate for an assist. RP were unsteady on offence, turning over the ball on a lot of possessions. Passes down court were easily stolen and their ball-handlers committed a few travelling violations early on. Their profligacy cost them, allowing ITE to build up a six-point lead as the quarter came to a close.
In the second quarter, ITE’s offence started to peter out. Jia Jia (ITE #16) tried to get her team mates open for shots, but found little success. The bulk of their scoring in the quarter came off broken plays or offensive rebounds, which were few and far between. RP capitalised, getting defensive stops and running out on the other end to for easy baskets. After going cold from three-point territory in the first quarter, Ilina Gan (RP #39) was able to nail a couple in this quarter. This allowed RP to trim the lead and they trailed by only two points at half-time.
RP came out strong in the third quarter, utilising a ferocious full-court press in hopes of turning the tide in their favour. It worked initially, as ITE obligingly coughed up several turnovers. However, once Jia Jia (ITE #16) took over the ball-handling duties, they managed to break the press with ease. RP were also doing well moving the ball around the court, generating open looks for three-pointers. Unfortunately, their players were unable to convert any of them.
RP seemed to lose morale by the start of the final quarter, as an ITE three-pointer stretched the lead up to six. Nur Shamirah (ITE #17) was bullying the RP players in the paint, taking advantage of the lack of box outs to secure multiple rebounds for ITE. RP were rejuvenated by the voracious cheering by their male counterparts from the benches. This sparked a furious RP comeback as Ilina Gan (RP #39) capped it off with two free throws to give them a one point lead.
The last three minutes were a tense affair, as both teams traded the lead multiple times. Each foul shot was met with hushed silence and every score was met with deafening cheers from the crowd. The pivotal moment of the match came when Tok Hui Min (RP #21) went to the line, with her team down 66–68. Unfortunately, she was only able to make one basket, which all but sealed her team’s fate in the match. The ITE bench erupted in cheers over the surprise victory, as it put them in a good position to qualify for the upcoming IVP games in January.
Zi Qun (ITE #1), said: “It was an extremely tough game! We did not expect to come out with the win, but I am glad we did. RP was really good with their full-court press, it made us concede turnovers and allowed them to get back into the game. We have not seen the university teams play yet, so we are not sure of our prospects for IVP, but we hope to do well.”
Scoring by Quarter
ITE vs RP
2Q: 13–17 (33–31)
3Q: 22–21 (55–52)
4Q: 13–15 (68–67)
Final score: 68–67
Chu Jia Jia (#16) – 31 points
Nur Shamirah (#17) – 19 points
Ilina Gan (#39) – 25 points
Tok Hui Min (#21) – 16 points
Chew Zi Qun (#1), Liow Hui Ting (#4), Lee Qiu Hui (#6), Foo Mei Geok (#7), Tan Hui Ning (#12), Joey Lim (#15), Chu Jia Jia (#16), Nur Shamirah (#17), Erra Izyan (#18), Ng Su Wei (#21), Desiree Chan (#28), Renee Kwek (#66), Mong Xing Jing (#99)
Kimberly Yeap (#4), Olivia Lee (#7), Gao Min (#8), Ang Pei Xuan (#9), Rachael (#10), Samantha Chiam (#11), Tan Shu Xuan (#13), Vanessa Yam (#14), Yew Danni (#17), Yvonne Toh (#19), Tok Hui Min (#21), Denise Kristin (#24), Sheryl Tang (#27), Janice Tan (#33), Ilina Gan (#39)