Story by Daniel Yeo/Red Sports. Photos by Dylan Chua/Red Sports.
Singapore Basketball Centre, Monday, May 7, 2018 — With a steady fourth-quarter surge, Raffles Institution (RI) scraped by National Junior College (NJC) 34–28 for their first win in the second round of the National Girls’ A Division Basketball Championship.
Despite the win, the 1-1 win-loss record of Raffles places them in third, which does not qualify them for the semi-finals. Thanks to point differential, National JC are in second with the same 1-1 win-loss record in a tight group.
Patricia Orenza (RI #27) scored a game-high 14 points in the Raffles win, while Chloe Tan (NJC #30) led National JC with a team-high seven.
Right from the starting buzzer, National JC used their signature full-court press to steal the ball and score the game’s first points. However, that 2–0 lead would be their only one for the game’s next three quarters.
Rachel Yeo (RI #10) went right back at them for a layup of her own to tie the game, and Raffles quickly jumped out in front thanks to the post play of Tan Kang Yi (RI #12). One particular play saw her work her way inside the paint and score with an impressive hook shot despite being smothered by two National JC defenders.
Throughout the first half, despite causing multiple turnovers with their full-court press and double-teams, National JC were unable to convert those opportunities and level with Raffles. Every time they closed the deficit to a one-possession or two-possession game, Raffles would score a few more to pull away, and the first half ended with them up 11–10.
Into the second half, and both teams began playing with a renewed intensity. Again, Raffles took the initiative with a quick 9–0 scoring run within the half’s first three minutes, emphasised by a Rachel Yeo (RI #10) trey which put them up 20–10.
However, when all looked lost for National JC, they came storming back with a 7–0 run in the next minute. They would go on to score two more in the quarter while limiting Raffles to zero, closing the gap to that one point as the final quarter loomed.
With eight minutes left in the game’s final frame, Sylvia Yap (NJC #29) drilled a cold-blooded go-ahead three to put National JC up 22–20, their first lead since that early 2–0 lead.
That lead would be short-lived, though, as Patricia Orenza (RI #27) raced down the floor for an and-one layup on the next possession. Sinking her first free throw of the game, she would regain a 23–22 lead for Raffles.
For the rest of the quarter, both teams would trade baskets in a back-and-forth affair. In spite of all this, Patricia would come through for Raffles as she scored 10 of their 14 in the quarter, including more free throws, crucial buckets which made it a three-possession game.
She talked to us about how she maintained her composure at the charity stripe down the stretch: “Previously, in the game, I missed my first two free throws, but I just forgot about them and made sure I made them (free throws). I didn’t let the (NJC) supporters get in my head.”
With those free throws, Patricia iced the game, and a 34–28 win for Raffles came soon after.
She explained how the team had prepared for this major match-up: “I think today both teams came in with a ‘go big or go home’ mindset. The past two games haven’t been easy for us, so after each game we would have team talks about what we did wrong on-court and work on it in the next game – we don’t let it hinder us for the following game, we move on and make sure we don’t repeat the same mistakes.”
National JC’s Sylvia (NJC #29) remained positive despite the loss, saying: “I think for today’s game, we gave our best effort, but it was the small lapses in defence and our poor conversion of shot attempts into points that cost us the game. So, for Wednesday, we have to keep the intensity up and focus on getting our fundamentals down.”
In their final games of this second round, Raffles will face last-seeded Anderson Junior College, while National JC will face top-seed Dunman High School. All four teams stand a chance to qualify for the semi-finals if results go their way in the group standings.
Both games will take place at Singapore Basketball Centre on May 9, with tip-off at 12:45pm and 2pm respectively.
Scoring by Quarter
National Junior College v Raffles Institution
1st Q: 5–8
2nd Q: 5–3 (10–11)
3rd Q: 9–9 (19–20)
4th Q: 9–14 (28–34)
National Junior College
Chloe Tan Kei (#30) – 7 points
Patricia Orenza (#27) – 14 points
National Junior College Roster
Shannon Or Shao Ning (#3), Vicky Chung Tzu Chi (#4), Nicole Lee Wen Wan (#6), Cheryl Lee Xue Er (#9), Gladys Woo (#11), Glenda Lee Jia En (#15), Ang Yi Xuan (#16), Lau Yu Hui (#18), Looi Shu Wen Nicole (#19), Sylvia Yap (#29), Chloe Tan Kei (#30), Ashley Wong (#31)
Raffles Institution Roster
Aw Han Xi (#3), Bridget Lew (#4), Katrina Lee (#6), Rhianne Vaz (#7), Rachel Yeo (#10), Tan Kang Yi (#12), Sofia Tan (#13), Shannon Tiong (#15), Angela Wang (#17), Vicky Qu (#23), Patricia Orenza (#27), Zhu Yezi (#77)
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