Story by Dylan Chua/Red Sports. Photos by Chan Hua Zheng/Red Sports.
OCBC Arena, Monday, March 19, 2018 — Kranji Secondary (KSS) believe that better performances lie ahead for them after National Junior College (NJC) came away with a 34–12 victory in both teams’ opening match of the National B Division Girls’ Basketball Championship.
A 22-point margin at the final buzzer seemed to reflect a one-sided affair, but spectators would argue that it was anything but for large swathe of the match. Kranji gave the South Zone Champions a run for their money before NJC found their rhythm late in the match to squash any hope of an opening day upset.
“We have to take our chances,” reflected captain Teo Wan Yu (Kranji #9), who contributed a team-high seven points.
“NJC are the South Zone champions and are much stronger technically. They have much better stamina as well. We could have fought harder and we have to take our opportunities when we get them. We had our chances today,” she added.
Captain Rachel Tan (NJC #2) led NJC with a 10-point performance and Agnes Lee (#5) added seven points for the South Zone champions, who had built a comfortable 10–0 lead despite never hitting top gear in the opening quarter.
A cold shooting performance in the 2nd and 3rd quarter saw NJC struggle to extend their lead, having gone scoreless for the first four minutes of the 2nd quarter and the first five minutes of the 3rd.
Kranji, who had qualified for the nationals after placing fourth in the West Zone, successfully cut the deficit to single digits at 14–6 with 9:11 left in the 3rd quarter and had many wondering if they could pull off a stunner.
Yet, NJC proved their mettle with some stellar defending to give themselves breathing space. Despite falling into a shooting slump in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, the South Zone champions kept doing their thing.
“We just played every ball as it is. We moved the ball around, found the open man for the shot and crashed the board for rebounds,” said Rachel (NJC #2).
A patient approach paid off for NJC as they found their rhythm late on and used a 14–1 run in the final quarter to secure victory.
Despite ending up on the losing side, an optimistic Chen Lin (Kranji #6) had words of encouragement for her teammates.
“We have to stay strong and cut down on simple mistakes and turnovers. We believe that we can do better in our next two matches,” said vice-captain Chen (Kranji #6).
NJC will next face Ngee Ann Secondary while Kranji will play North Vista in their next preliminary round match. Both matches will tip-off at 1.15pm on March 21st at OCBC Arena.
Scoring by Quarter
NJC vs Kranji
1st Q: 10–0
2nd Q: 4–4 (14–4)
3rd Q: 6–2 (20–6)
4th Q: 14–6 (34–12)
Rachel Tan (#2) – 10 points
Agnes Lee (#5) – 7 points
Teo Wan Yu (#9) – 7 points
Tan Wei Xuan Rachel (#2), Ng Mu Rong (#3), Agnes Lee Ying Faye (#5), Joanna Wei Xin Yue (#9), Arshia Bansal (#10), Tiana Huang Chienchi (#14), Kimi Neo Huilin (#15), Amanda Han Xinzhi (#20), Aruna D/O Vadivelu (#21), Baskar Janisha Reddy (#25), Engie Low (#27), Breanne Kaur Gill (#32)
Chan Jia Xuan (#4), Alayna Tan (#5), Chen Lin (#6), Lee li Xuan Claire (#7), Tabitha Magendran (#8), Teo Wan Yu (#9), Nurul umi namirah (#10), Cheap Kang Yee (#11), Dalili Bte mohd Abbas (#12), Nur Maisarah Juraimi (#13), Sammi Chng (#14), Joey Tay (#15)
More photos next page