Story by Daniel Yeo/Red Sports. Photos by Chan Hua Zheng/Red Sports.
Jurong East Sports Hall, Friday, May 18, 2018 — Last year, in the National Girls’ A Division Basketball Championship final, Raffles Institution (RI) trounced first-time finalists Dunman High School 64–38 to repeat as champions and defend their throne.
The season’s Most Valuable Player (MVP), Dunman High’s Tan Hui Xiang (DHS #7), told us in her post-game interview: “I am also motivated to work harder and will definitely come back stronger next year.”
And she did. Delivering on her promise, she scored a game-high 21 points to lead Dunman High to their first championship, trouncing Raffles 53–32 and winning her second MVP award of her A Division career along the way.
Leading the way with her was teammate Teh Wen Jan (DHS #4), who scored a game-high 21 as well. However, these 21 points came solely off threes, as she splashed seven over the course of the championship game.
As for Raffles, Patricia Orenza (RI #27) was the lone Raffles scorer in double digits with 11, her teammates struggling to put the ball in the basket all game long.
The Raffles struggle showed early in the game, as Dunman High quickly raced to a 12–0 lead within the game’s first five minutes. At long last, seven minutes into the game, Patricia would score her team’s first bucket.
Dunman High continued to have their way with the Raffles defence, probing it and exploiting it for whatever shot they wanted to take. This was emphasised by a sick sling pass from Hui Xiang (DHS #7) to an open Ong Qing Qing (DHS #12) for the layup.
With the ability to play five-out on offense, Dunman High forced Raffles’ two bigs to guard their players outside the arc, preventing them from playing help defence if any of their teammates were beat off the dribble.
Meanwhile, Dunman High’s 1-2-2 zone defence seemed to be working well as they pressured Raffles into turnover after turnover. This active and engaged defence, especially in the paint and on closeouts, would make sure Raffles never got comfortable for the game’s first three quarters.
At the end of the half, Patricia Orenza (RI #27) had scored eight of Raffles’ 12 points in the game. With that in mind, Dunman High assigned a player to stick to her at all times in the second half.
With her defender preventing her from getting her hands on the ball and limiting her touches, a frustrated Patricia racked up three of her four personal fouls in the third quarter.
Her teammates were not playing well enough to get them back into the game either, with key bigs Tan Kang Yi (RI #12) and Shannon Tiong (RI #15) scoring just two and nine respectively in the game. Fellow starter Rachel Yeo (RI #10) put in a mere nine points, and including Patricia, this quartet would go on to score 30 of Raffles’ 32.
Most of these points would come in the final quarter, as Raffles finally exploded for 17 points, with Rachel scoring all of her nine and Shannon adding six. Despite this, it would be too little, and too late.
Not to be overlooked, Teh Wen Jan (DHS #4) scored all six of Dunman High’s points in the final quarter with two treys, capping off an absurd sharp-shooting performance of seven treys in this finals game.
She explained succinctly: “I just shot. Today is the last game of the season, the last game of A Division, the last chance for me to play. I just wanted to do my best and shoot well.”
With that, Dunman High would finish the last game of the season with a victory. Dethroning two-time champions Raffles, Dunman High would hoist their first ever championship trophy after sweet revenge for last year’s loss to their rivals.
Dunman High captain Hui Xiang (DHS #7) recounted the improvements her team has made over the years: “We’ve been working harder and harder every year and thankfully we’ve been seeing the results. From our first season together where we unable to even qualify for nationals to achieving national champs 6 years later wasn’t an easy journey. It’s impossible to sum up the five and a half years’ worth of memories we’ve made together but it’s something we’ll all hold on to for a very very long time.”
As for her A Div metal – two MVP trophies, a gold medal, and a silver medal – she expressed her relief and gratitude to those who supported her along the way: “It definitely feels rewarding but it feels even better knowing that I didn’t let the people around me down especially my coach and teammates who’ve always been there for me through every step of this journey.”
Despite missing out on the chance for a Raffles three-peat, a proud Patricia (RI #27) praised her team for their progress throughout this season: “Having made it this far and being able to face such a strong opponent is already an achievement for us. We took each game one step at a time despite taking two Ls in the preliminary rounds. We played each game as one and enjoyed the process alongside with our coach and supportive teachers in charge. We’ll just have to come back stronger next year. Dream. Team. Fight. Win.”
Those last four words are the words of the Raffles basketball motto. And, if the Raffles girls can put that into action, watch out for them next year.
Scoring by Quarter
Dunman High School v Raffles Institution
1st Q: 17–7
2nd Q: 13–5 (30–12)
3rd Q: 17–3 (47–15)
4th Q: 6–17 (53–32)
Dunman High School
Tan Hui Xiang (#7) – 21 points
Teh Wen Jan (#4) – 21 points, 7 3PM
Patricia Orenza (#27) – 11 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)
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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