Story by Daniel Yeo/Red Sports. Photos by Chan Hua Zheng/Red Sports.
Jurong East Sports Hall, Tuesday, May 15, 2018 — Defensive consistency and composure under pressure led Dunman High School (DHS) to a 46–39 win over Nanyang JC in the National Girls’ A Division Basketball Championship semi-final.
With this win, Dunman High advances to the final, and will face Raffles in the season’s final game. Meanwhile, Nanyang JC will take on Hwa Chong Institution for the bronze medal.
Dunman High were led by a team-high 12 points from Tan Hui Xiang (DHS #7), while Guan Mingxia (NYJC #5) nailed five treys en-route to a game-high 19 points for Nanyang JC. Dunman High and Nanyang JC teammates Lim Zhi Jia (DHS #10) and Annabel Chua (#8) each added 10 points to their team’s total.
As the starting whistle was blown, it was clear that both teams were having difficulties finding their stroke. Dunman High was placing their emphasis on perimeter ball movement, and Nanyang JC were settling for jumpshots, but shots were not falling for either team.
Maybe this could be attributed to some stingy coverage by both teams. Each guarded each other well from behind the arc with a 2-3 zone defence, and Dunman High was even going the extra mile by frequently double-teaming the Nanyang JC ball-handler beyond the perimeter.
With that said, both teams attacked the paint for their points. Tabitha Tay (DHS #11) dumped the ball off to Lim Zhi Jia (DHS #10) in the post to put Dunman High on the scoreboard, while Joelle Thng (NYJC #11) towered over her defender for the offensive rebound, put-back, and Nanyang JC’s first two.
After a close first quarter which saw teams tied at 12-apiece, both turned it on early in the second. A back-and-forth battle saw the lead change hands several times, but Dunman found their stroke from three-point land. Hitting four straight threes, the half came to a close with them up 26–19.
Into the second half, and Dunman High’s animated coach was urging the team to play an active and engaged brand of defence. He even changed up their 1-3-1 zone press to a 2-2-1 zone press in the hopes of protecting the three-point shot better, and it seemed to have worked as they forced multiple turnovers from Nanyang JC.
Albeit those careless turnovers, Nanyang JC were slowly chipping into the lead, and it took some buckets from Tan Hui Xiang (DHS #7) to keep them in front. Taking over, she scored six of her eventual 12 in the third quarter.
Dunman High scored a total of nine points in this third quarter, and those final three points were attributed to none other than Teh Wen Ruey (DHS #15).
As the quarter approached its conclusion, Dunman High found themselves inbounding the ball on the baseline with a second left on the shot clock. Both teams realised that a good defensive stop by Nanyang JC would be a good momentum-shifter heading into the fourth. But Wen Ruey sprinted to the opposite corner, caught the ball, spun, and drained a trey as the shot clock showed zero for what was indubitably the game’s most impressive shot.
Ten minutes left in the game, and down by five, Nanyang JC had to find a way through the Dunman High trap defence which had been tormenting them in the half-court set the entire game. The game-plan: to push the ball up the court as fast as they could and prevent the defence from setting up.
It almost worked, and with Guan Mingxia’s (NYJC #5) fifth trey of the game, Dunman High’s lead was in danger, the score at 42–39 in a one-possession game.
However, despite Mingxia’s valiant effort and a performance which saw her score eight of Nanyang JC’s nine points in the quarter, Dunman High would not allow the lead to be wrested away from them.
With less than a minute left on the clock, a strong move into the paint earned Tabitha Tay (DHS #11) an and-one layup, and converting her extra point, the final dagger would be driven into the heart of Nanyang JC.
Despite the win, Tan Hui Xiang (DHS #7) was critical of her team and their performance on the day: “I felt like today, we were getting the shots that we wanted, but we just weren’t making them. As for defence, we had a few lapses, and especially since our opponent was pretty accurate today, we were punished for them.”
Knowing they can do better, she added some adjustments they would make for their final game of the season: ““We’re just going to talk about what we can do offensively and what to take note on the defensive end.”
Dunman High will face the surprise finalist, Raffles Institution on May 18. Nanyang JC will take on Hwa Chong Institution in the third/fourth placing match one day before, on May 17. Both games will take place at Jurong East Sports Hall and tip-off at 1pm.
Scoring by Quarter
Dunman High School v Nanyang Junior College
1st Q: 12–12
2nd Q: 14–7 (26–19)
3rd Q: 9–11 (35–30)
4th Q: 11–9 (46–39)
Dunman High School
Tan Hui Xiang (#7) – 12 points
Lim Zhi Jia (#10) – 10 points
Nanyang Junior College
Guan Mingxia (#5) – 19 points, 5 3PM
Annabel Chua (#8) – 10 points
Dunman High School Roster
Teh Wen Jan (#4), Gladys Leng Yun Hui (#5), Gladys Lim Hung (#6), Tan Hui Xiang (#7), Koo Jing Ting (#8), Kolette Lim Yi Qi (#9), Lim Zhi Jia (#10), Tabitha Tay Zi Qi (#11), Ong Qing Qing (#12), Yew Yun Chian (#14), Teh Wen Ruey (#15)
Nanyang Junior College Roster
Natrecia Tsai Yijie (#0), Lynn Tan En Ting (#1), Yeo Ding Xin (#2), Guan Mingxia (#5), Annabel Chua (#8), Jesica Cahyadi (#9), Jermaine Lim Jia Ying (#10), Joelle Thng (#11), Elke Goh Yuan Chyi (#12), Nicole Tung Xin Yin (#13), Claudia Tan Xin Yun (#14), Ashwini Naidu (#22)
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