Story by Chan Hua Zheng/Red Sports. Photos by Dylan Chua/Red Sports.
Jurong East Sports Hall, Tuesday, March 6, 2018 — In a repeat of last year’s final between two perennial West Zone powerhouses, defending champions Unity Secondary School (US) put in a dominating fourth quarter performance to seal an 85–62 victory over Jurong Secondary School (JSS).
“We played well as we overcame our nervousness at the start. Even though we let Jurong score the first basket, we defended well enough to not let them grab an early lead,” Ryan Hoa (US #2) commented on his team’s performance in the victory.
Nicholas Peh (US #7) led Unity with a team-high 21 points, while teammates Jonathan Ng (US #35) and Jarric Quek (US #3) contributed 20 points and 12 points respectively.
Despite the defeat, Shafiq (JSS #13) led all scorers with a valiant 24-point performance while Kunlin (JSS #7) chipped in 13 points.
Unity started off with a wicked full-court press that allowed them to score easy transition baskets off Jurong turnovers to grab an early 10–6 lead.
However, Unity was plagued by foul trouble as they found themselves in the penalty with 8:02 remaining on the clock.
Jurong responded by taking advantage of Unity being in the penalty to grab a 17–12 lead and forced a timeout from Unity with an 11–2 scoring run that was capped off by a fast-break lay-up by Kunlin (JSS #7) with 2:07 remaining in the quarter.
Unity struck back after coming out of their timeout by locking up on defence to prevent Jurong from getting high-percentage shots from their half-court sets and ended the quarter with a 6–0 run to grab an 18–17 lead.
The second quarter started with Jurong regaining control of the game with a quick 7–0 run as quick ball movement from their half-court sets generated open looks at the baskets.
Unity then proceeded to turn the tide of the match in their favour with a massive 19–5 run over the final 6 minutes and 52 seconds of the quarter to grab a 37–29 lead heading into the half-time break.
It was a point war as both sides traded baskets with one another right out of the half-time break, with Unity making use of off-ball cuts and timely passes in their half-court sets to generate easy baskets while Jurong scored quick baskets in semi-transition.
Jurong managed to cut the deficit to five after Shafiq (JSS #13) made a cold-blooded pull-up three in his defender’s face to make it a 45–40 scoreline with 6:28 left in the quarter.
Jurong could not find their rhythm for the rest of the quarter, as they struggled with turnovers from poorly timed passes to allow Unity to pull ahead with a 55–45 scoreline heading into the final period.
Unity dominated the final quarter, outscoring Jurong 30–17 as they unleashed a suffocating full-court press that led to easy fast-break points off Jurong turnovers.
Jurong struggled to cope with Unity’s defence as they committed turnovers off sloppy passes that limited their scoring opportunities while allowing Unity to score quickly before their defence could react.
At the final buzzer, Unity would defend their zonal title against Jurong as they sealed a convincing 85–62 victory.
“We did not play badly but our defence was terrible. We could have fought harder for our defensive rebounds and moved our legs instead of reaching-in on defence. We also committed a lot of turnovers due to miscommunication and we should be more decisive with the ball instead of committing sloppy passes,” reflected Shafiq (JSS #13) on his team’s performance in the loss.
“We have to communicate more on the court. We also have to improve on our defence as well as boxing-out for rebounds,” he added.
Both teams will next feature in the National B Division Basketball Championship.
Scoring by Quarter
Unity vs Jurong
1st Q: 18–17
2nd Q: 19–12 (37–29)
3rd Q: 18–16 (55–45)
4th Q: 30–17 (85–62)
Nicholas Peh Chi Leong (#7) — 21 points
Jonathan Ng Zi Bin (#35) — 20 points
Jarric Quek Jun Ying (#3) — 12 points
Shafiq (#13) — 24 points
Kunlin (#7) — 13 points
Melvin Chua Dong En (#1), Ryan Hoa Wai Ming (#2), Jarric Quek Jun Ying (#3), Ricardo Phua Yong Kang (#4), Nicholas Peh Chi Leong (#7), Andy Tan Jia Jun (#8), Li Ming (#9), Jude Emmanuel Viray Pabustan (#11), Neo Tock Peng (#12), Nurhairie Nazief (#15), Lee Cheng Jun (#32), Jonathan Ng Zi Bin (#35)
Rojean (#29), Benny (#1), Marvin (#6), Duncan (#21), Brandon (#20), Favian (8), Yu Heng (#18), Benedict (#15), Carlo (#3), Kunlin (#7), Zong Hao (#88), Shafiq (#13)
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