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

Jin Sheng De (FMS #15) goes up for an under-basket shot. He finished with a game-high 15 points. (Photo 1 © Chan Hua Zheng/Red Sports)

OCBC Arena, Monday, March 26, 2018 — North Vista Secondary (NV) seem to have an innate ability to turn up when it matters the most.

Having previously erased a 13-point deficit in the North Zone final to clinch the title, the two-time defending national champions overwhelmed Fairfield Methodist School (FMS) for a frantic 58-49 comeback victory in the National B Division Basketball Championship.

Justen Chiam (NV #11) and Sim Yi Brenndon Ariffin (NV #5) scored 14 points apiece to pace the Vikings, who managed to find a new gear in the final quarter with the game on the line.

Down 33-41 with 1:03 left to go in the third quarter, North Vista used a huge 25-8 run over the final 11 minutes of the game to secure victory and the top spot in group B.

North Vista credited a strong mindset for their latest comeback.

“It’s all about having the right mentality and a never say die attitude. No matter the score, we will never give up until the final buzzer,” explained Justen (NV #11).

Fairfield Methodist executed brilliantly on the offensive end for large portions of the first three quarters, and would consider themselves unfortunate to not have emerged victorious.

The South Zone runners-up often went to Jin Sheng De (FMS #15) and Carl Belanger (FMS #22) for easy baskets in the paint as they successfully exploited the height advantage of their big men.

Sheng De (FMS #15) led all scorers with 15 points and Carl (FMS #22) added 12 for Fairfield, who led 28-25 at halftime.

Fairfield threatened to run away with the game in the third quarter when Russell Lim (FMS #12) completed a three-point play with 1:03 left to put them up 41-33 and gave his team their biggest lead of the game.

Despite trailing for almost the entire second and third quarters, North Vista never once called a timeout.

“It’s all about trust. Our coach has a lot of trust in us and we trust one another too,” said Sim Yi (NV #5).

North Vista went on a 6-2 run in the final minute of the third quarter after forcing Fairfield into several errors and made it a four-point game heading into the final quarter.

Sim Yi’s (NV #5) three-pointer with 4:36 remaining put North Vista up 49-46 and gave his team the lead for good.

In a desperate attempt to mount a comeback, Fairfield committed several turnovers and allowed North Vista to score a 58-49 victory in the final game of the preliminary round.

North Vista’s quest for a third straight national title resumes on March 29. They have been drawn to face fellow zonal champions Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Rd) and Unity Secondary in a challenging second round group. North Zone rivals Christ Church Secondary complete the group.

“It is a tough group but we will take the games one at a time,” said Amos Tai (NV #7).

Fairfield will fancy their chances of making it to the final four, having been drawn to face North Zone runners-up Presbyterian High School, East Zone champions Dunman Secondary and Bukit Panjang Government High School, who finished third in the West Zone.

Scoring by Quarter
Fairfield vs North Vista

1st Q: 14-18
2nd Q: 14-7 (28-25)
3rd Q: 15-14 (43-39)
4th Q: 6-19 (49-58)

Top Scorers

Jin Sheng De (#15) – 15 points
Carl Belanger (#22) – 12 points

North Vista
Justen Chiam (#11) – 14 points
Sim Yi Brenndon Ariffin (#5) – 14 points

Fairfield Roster
Chiam Ming Yao (#1), Ang Tze Haw (#4), Jonathan Ang (#9), John Vannan (#10), Russell Lim (#12), Jin Sheng De (#15), Carl Belanger (#22), Clarence Soh (#27), Tan Wen Jun (#31), Jeremy Graves (#33), David Chong (#36)

North Vista Roster
Shayan Medhi Nejad (#2), Chan Qi Feng (#3), Vincent Gerard Embay Bancod (#4), Sim Yi Brenndon Ariffin (#5), Chace Ng Kai Le (#6), Amos Tai (#7), Dillon Ong Yan Kai (#9), Arnald Foo Wei Bin (#10), Justen Chiam (#11), Jayson Yanoria (#24), Damien Yau (#25), Reuben David F Amado (#30)

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