Saipan Southern High School swept Kagman High School in Friday's Marianas Interscholastic Sports Organization varsity, junior varsity, and freshmen boys basketball triple feature at the Marianas High School Gymnasium.
The Manta Rays varsity team stamped an exclamation point on the night with a booming 125-70 victory against Kagman's senior team. This came after its freshmen and junior squads survived the opening and second features, 34-30, and, 47-36, respectively.
The undefeated SSHS varsity capped its fourth straight win and leads the MHS Dolphins (3-1) by a game, while KHS dipped to an even slate of 2-2.
The Eucon International School Blazers (1-3) and the Mount Carmel School Knights' complete the varsity field.
Meanwhile, SSHS' Jr. Manta Rays are now tied with its KHS rivals and Agape Christian School's Torchbearers who all sit at behind unbeaten MHS (4-0) at 2-2. Saipan International School's Jr. Geckos complete the field.
The freshmen Mantas surpassed KHS (1-2) in the standings by improving to 1-1 with MHS, at 2-0, sitting in the driver's seat over the three-team class.
The season continues at the MHS Gym today at 4pm with a junior division face-off between MHS and Agape followed by the varsity match featuring the Dolphins against the Blazers at 5:30pm.
In the varsity game, the Manta Rays got right to work and darted off to a 31-14 lead in the first quarter, as Jack Aranda erupted for 10 markers.
Jaymark De Guzman took the reins from Aranda in the second period and dropped 17 points as the Ayuyus suffered a meltdown prior to the mid-point of the game.
De Guzman topped off his spurt with a trio of 3-pointers late in the period, which left his Manta Rays with a insurmountable 71-29 separation at the half.
Jason Lampkin and Anthony Malwelbug combined for the bulk of KHS' offense through the first two frames with 21 points.
SSHS trudged forward, 97-47, heading into the final 10 minutes as Aranda added 8 points to complement the 9 by power forward Emerson Feria as it was all SSHS in the last canto.
KHS' Jesse Santos air-mailed four long range bombs, but they hardly put a dent in the deficit.
SSHS' De Guzman, Aranda, and Feria lit it up with 30, 27, and 26 points, respectively, dwarfing KHS' Lampkin, Santos, and Malwelbug's double digit outputs of 18, 16, and 14.
In the junior varsity match, the Manta Rays held an early 13-11 advantage in the opening period as shooting guard Tyler Palacios anchored the group with 8 points.
Then both teams tightened up on defense, but SSHS managed to stretch it to a 21-17 favor at halftime and the team turned it up after the pause, as Palacios added 6 points to lead a third quarter charge that put them ahead, 33-25, heading into the closing period.
Tempers flared in the fourth quarter as things fell apart for the Jr. Ayuyus and the last seconds of regulation were simply run off the clock with no one on the floor.
KHS had no chance to muster a comeback at that point and it was apparently the Ayuyus' coaching staff who suggested the early close. SSHS' James Kintaro led the Jr. Manta Rays in the fourth quarter with a handful of markers.
Palacios led all scorers with 20 points, outscoring KHS' top duo of Melvin Sakisat and Bret Halstead who tallied 9 points apiece.
In the freshmen match, KHS' Michael Muna held the hot hand out of the gate with 6 points complemented by a trey from Doming Faisao that gave the Ayuyus a 9-8 advantage in the first period, but SSHS regrouped in the second and received output from six different players for a 21-15 lead at intermission.
Muna was held to just one bucket in the second quarter, but scrambled for a handful in the third to help bring KHS to within a possession, 25-28, heading into crunch time.
SSHS was stuffed to just 7 points in the third verse and only mustered 6 down the homestretch, but managed to match its opponents more or less to hang on for the win.
Mii Tekopua led a diverse group SSHS scorers with 10 points, while KHS' Muna topped the box score from the short end with 17.
SSHS 125 - De Guzman 30, Aranda 27, Feria 26, Salem 13, Alegre 12, Andrews 8, Javier III 4, Mariano 4, Villanueva 2.
KHS 70 - Lampkin 18, Je Santos 16, Malwelbug 14, Jo Santos 10, Nawaz 4, Polino 4, A Santos 2.
Scoring by quarters: 31-14, 71-29, 97-47, 125-70.
SSHS 47 - Palacios 20, Ferrer 6, Kintaro 5, Raquepo 5, Reyes 5, Acopaido 2, Castro 2.
KHS 36 - Sakisat 10, Halstead 9, Evangelista 6, Taitano 3, Racadio 2, Muna 2, Salas 2.
Scoring by quarters: 13-11, 21-17, 33-25, 47-36.
SSHS 34 - Tekopua 10, Borromeo 6, Esmundo 6, Flores 4, Sagun 4, Santo Domingo 2, Villafruerte 2.
KHS 30 - Muna 17, Taitano 5, Faisao 3, Retan 3, Ada 2.
Scoring by quarters: 8-9, 21-15, 28-25, 34-30.