Ayanna Ongelungel converted a fastbreak basket to sneak Saipan Southern High School past Mount Carmel School, 44-43, during the varsity game in the 2012-2013 Marianas Interscholastic Sports Organization Girls Basketball League last Monday at the Marianas High School Gymnasium.
With just 15 seconds left in regulation, Ongelungel intercepted a pass at midcourt and slashed to the basket to give her team their first taste of the lead since the early part of the second quarter.
Mt. Carmel had nine seconds to work with and had a couple of shot opportunities, but could not get them to drop, causing quite a ruckus from the Southern's supporters in attendance and leaving the Lady Knights stunned, as they held clear control for majority of the match only to lose in the end.
The Lady Rays fought from behind almost the entire time, but kept the Lady Knights within striking distance and the former mustered all their energy for one final push in the fourth period to steal the win.
Ongelungel's skills showed more and more as the game progressed and she could not have peaked at a better time, especially with the absence of Southern's standout player, Roxanne Duenas. Ongelungel took the cudgels at crunch time to keep the Lady Rays' clean record after two games.
Vanessa Bartolo also helped Southern's cause, as her back-to-back baskets at the close of the first period put the Lady Rays in the lead, 12-10.
However, the Lady Knights assumed control in the second to take a 27-20 halftime lead. Mt. Carmel relentlessly attacked the basket and made its way to the free throw line on multiple occasions. MCS tallied 7 points from the stripe, four of which came from Michelle Kautz, who led the second quarter charge with 7 points.
Southern then moved within 4 at the end of the third period, as Ongelungel and Chelsea Bartolo scored 4 points apiece.
After leading in the second and third periods, Mt. Carmel appeared to slow down late in the game and did not invest enough on the defensive end. The Lady Knights were good on offense, but only had one player, Jasmine Che, battling Southern players for rebounds in the trenches.
Southern knew it was still in range for a comeback and simply outhustled the Lady Knights for rebounds and loose balls and continued to make their rival earn every basket on the other end.
Ongelungel's 7 points in the fourth quarter was complemented by a three-pointer from Vanessa Bartolo, while Mt. Carmel was held to a dismal 5 markers in the clutch.
Vanessa Bartolo led the Lady Rays with her 15 points, just one basket ahead of Ongelungel's 13, while Mt. Carmel leaned on Kaylani Lebria's 16 markers.
With the win, Southern is now tied for the lead with defending champions MHS Dolphins, while Mt. Carmel dropped to a 1-2 card. Kagman High School completes the field and is still winless in three games
The season continues tomorrow at 4:30pm with a varsity pairing between MHS and MCS.
SSHS 44 - V.Bartolo 15, Ongelungel 13, C. Bartolo 6, J. Francisco 6, Quitugua 2, Rogoyang 2.
MCS 43 - Lebria 16, M. Kautz 13, Taylor 6, Demapan 5, R. Kautz 2, Che 1.
Scoring by quarters: 12-10, 20-27, 34-38, 44-43.