Story by REDintern Daniel Yeo. Photos by Chan Hua Zheng/Red Sports.
OCBC Arena, Thursday, April 12, 2018 — For the first time since 2004, Singapore Chinese Girls’ School (SCGS) hoisted the trophy as winners of the National B Division Girls’ Basketball Championship, ending their season with a 62–53 win over Yishun Town Secondary (YTS).
This win ended a perfect 16–0 season for SCGS, as they came out of both the North Zone and National Championships unscathed. As for Yishun Town, this would be their third loss of the season to SCGS.
SCGS were led by Crystal Nathasha (SCGS #9) with 15 points, while teammates Tori Chua (SCGS #7) and Haziera Bte Hairudinsah (SCGS #5) scored 13 and 10 respectively. As for Yishun Town, Xie Muqi (YTS #11) scored a game-high 22 points while Nur Afifah (YTS #8) added 13.
It was Yishun Town who came racing out of the blocks first, with Nur Afifah (YTS #8) knocking down a trey to begin scoring. Throughout the quarter, she would go off for nine of Yishun Town’s 11 points.
Yishun Town were playing especially good defence in the paint and on their close-outs, causing tough misses from SCGS. On the other hand, SCGS placed their defensive emphasis on the perimeter, resulting in multiple turnovers from Yishun Town for easy points.
SCGS were also converting via their half-court set play, as they used the pick-and-roll to find open shooters. A closely contested first quarter ended with Yishun Town up 11–9.
As the second quarter began, Crystal Nathasha (SCGS #9) scored SCGS’ first points with a fast-break layup to tie the game at 11-apiece. Margaret Suriya (SCGS #12) was also putting in work, with four quick points in the post to extend the lead.
For the rest of the half, both teams traded buckets in a back-and-forth battle. One particular play saw Nur Afiyah (YTS #5) drill a trey to cut into the SCGS lead. On the next possession, Haziera (SCGS #5) got three points back with the same long ball.
SCGS were able to find their range from three-point land as they made four of them in the second quarter alone, with the exclamation point coming from a Tori (SCGS #7) buzzer-beater to put SCGS up 36–25.
After a 27-point explosion by SCGS in the second quarter, Yishun Town came into the third quarter playing some suffocating defence and bringing SCGS back to earth. With their full-court press in full effect, they were able to force an eight-second violation.
After scoring nine of Yishun Town’s 14 in the second quarter, Xie Muqi (YTS #11) carried that same momentum over to score eight more in the third as she hoped to capitalise on her team’s defensive success.
Once again, SCGS stepped up their efforts on the less glamorous end and wreaked havoc on the Yishun Town offence. With Tori’s (SCGS #7) active hands at the perimeter, SCGS came up with a number of steals to extend the lead to 13 at the quarter’s end.
Yishun Town now had a mountain to climb, no thanks to their turnovers in the previous quarter. The final quarter of the tournament began with them chipping away at the deficit, and finally, with 3:04 left in the game, Muqi (YTS #11) scored to trim the deficit to single-digits at 49–57.
However, Fatin Nazura Bte Mohammad Rafi (SCGS #4) converted both her looks from the charity stripe to extend SCGS’ lead to 11 as the clock wound down. Despite a last-ditch effort on a layup by Jennifer Chue (YTS #12), SCGS went on to win their final game of the season with the score at 62–53.
When asked about the hardware she’d be taking home, Tori Chua (SCGS #7), as she held her gold medal in one hand and her MVP (Most Valuable Player) award in the other, said: “I’m overwhelmed, I did not expect this at all. I’m really grateful to my team, my coaches, everyone that helped. I’m really proud of our team for getting this (the title).”
Despite the loss, the Misban sisters stayed positive, with Afiyah (YTS #5) saying: “Even though we lost, we played our very best, and that’s all that matters.”
Scoring by Quarter
Singapore Chinese Girls’ School v Yishun Town Secondary
1st Q: 9–11
2nd Q: 27–14 (36–25)
3rd Q: 16–14 (52–39)
4th Q: 10–14 (62–53)
Singapore Chinese Girls’ School
Crystal Nathasha D/O Mathi Vanan (#9) – 15 points
Tori Chua (#7) – 13 points, 2 3PM
Haziera Bte Hairudinsah (#5) – 10 points, 3 3PM
Yishun Town Secondary
Xie Muqi (#11) – 22 points
Nur Afifah Bte Misban (#8) – 13 points
Singapore Chinese Girls’ School Roster
Fatin Nazura Bte Mohammad Rafi (#4), Haziera Bte Hairudinsah (#5), Jovys Woo Sze Lee (#6), Tori Chua (#7), Rachel Tan Rui En (#8), Crystal Nathasha D/O Mathi Vanan (#9), Wee Yi-Ning Freda (#10), Rachel Ang Rui Ci (#11), Margaret Suriya (#12), Nur Nadia Bte Abdul Ghani (#13), Alisa Sarah Bte Jefri (#14), Joanie Phua Wen Xi (#15)
Yishun Town Secondary 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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