Story by Dylan Chua/Red Sports. Photos by Chan Hua Zheng/Red Sports.

Crystal Nathasha (SCGS #9) going for up a fast break lay-up. She finished with a team-high 12 points, including the game-winner. (Photo 1 © Chan Hua Zheng/Red Sports)

Singapore Basketball Centre, Monday, February 12, 2018 — Crystal Nathasha’s (SCGS #9) game winning lay-up with 5.9 seconds to go propelled Singapore Chinese Girls’ School (SCGS) to a 35–33 victory over Yishun Town Secondary (YTS) in the second round of the North Zone B Division Girls’ Basketball Championship.

In a match reminiscent of a similarly close encounter between the two schools in the same competition exactly a year ago, Crystal Nathasha (SCGS #9) scored a team-high 12 points while Xie Muqi (YTS #11) led Yishun Town with 13 points.

Both teams held a perfect 5–0 record prior to this encounter and despite having already secured progression to the semi-finals of the competition, both teams knew victory in this match would earn the top spot in the group, avoiding a semi-final date with defending champions North Vista Secondary.

Muqi (YTS #11) scored the first basket with a three-pointer just 15 seconds into the match, as Yishun Town started out the more impressive of the sides. Yishun Town never trailed as they took a narrow 9–5 lead after one.

Both teams went scoreless in the second quarter until a Jennifer Chue (YTS #12) lay-up with 5:08 in the quarter extended Yishun Town’s lead. Crystal Nathasha (SCGS #9) then scored half of her dozen points as part of a 7–1 SCGS run to close the quarter. The match was tied up at 12 apiece heading into the second half.

A frantic third quarter saw SCGS take the lead for the first time but Yishun Town refused to barge as the teams were again tied at 25 apiece heading into the final quarter.

SCGS held a 32–29 lead with 1:17 remaining in the match but Yishun Town threatened to flip the script with a four-point turnaround within seven pulsating seconds.

A well-executed baseline inbound play first gave Muqi (YTS #11) an open lay-up plus the foul. Nur Afiyah Bte Misban (YTS #5) then rebounded Muqi’s (YTS #11) missed free throw and made no mistake from an under basket attempt. SCGS immediately called time with 1:10 left on the clock.

With nine seconds remaining and her team down one, Tori Chua (SCGS #7) drew a foul on a lay-up attempt. Tori (SCGS #7) converted her first attempt from the charity stripe to tie the game but missed her second. Crystal Nathasha’s (SCGS #9) then grabbed the offensive rebound and scored on a driving lay-up to give her team a two-point lead. Nur Afiyah’s (YTS #5) last ditched three-point attempt fell short as SCGS took the victory and top spot in the group.

In an evenly contested match which saw 10 lead changes and three ties, Crystal Nathasha’s (SCGS #9) intervention in the dying moments of the match proved to be the difference between the sides.

“Our opponents were the better team but we didn’t give up and were a tad lucky,” said SCGS captain Margaret Suriya (SCGS #12).

With this victory, SCGS improved their record for the season to 6–0 and qualified for the semi-finals with the top spot from Group A. Yishun Town tasted defeat for the first time this season but will similarly feature in the semi-finals which will be played after the Chinese New Year break.

Scoring by Quarter
SCGS vs Yishun Town

1st Q: 5–9
2nd Q: 7–3 (12–12)
3rd Q: 13–13 (25–25)
4th Q: 10–8 (35–33)

Top Scorers
Crystal Nathasha (#9) – 12 points
Tori Chua (#7) – 8 points

Yishun Town
Xie Muqi (#11) – 13 points
Nur Afiyah Bte Misban (#5) – 10 points

SCGS Roster
Fatin Nazura Bte Mohammad Rafi (#4), Haziera Bte Hairudinsah (#5), Jovys Woo Sze Lee (#6), Tori Chua (#7), Rachel Tan (#8), Crystal Nathasha D/O Mathi Vanan (#9), Freda Wee (#10), Rachel Ang (#11), Margaret Suriya (#12), Nur Nadia Bte Abdul Ghani (#13), Alisa Sarah Bte Jefri (#14), Hillary Yeo (#15)

Yishun Town Roster
Nur Afiyah Bte Misban (#5), Gin Chong Manyun (#7), Nur Afifah Bte Misban (#8), Mabel Ong (#10), Xie Muqi (#11), Jennifer Chue (#12), Regina Kaw (#13), Cynthia Chin (#15), Li Zixi (#16) Nur Nadia Lim (#17) Marilyn Goh (#21), Chua Ting En (#78)

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