Saipan Southern High School Manta Rays outshone the Marianas High School Dolphins in the varsity set last Friday, though the latter's regiments salvaged victories in the junior varsity and freshmen divisions as the Marianas Interscholastic Sports Organization's 2013 high school boys basketball season continued last Friday at the MHS Gymnasium.
The varsity Rays extended its flawless streak to five wins in a row, while the Dolphins dipped to a win-loss card of 5-2, but remained in second place in the standings.
The Kagman High School Ayuyus (3-3), Eucon International School Blazers (1-5), and Mount Carmel School Knights (1-5) complete the field.
MHS is dominating the junior class and improved its undefeated run to seven in a row. The Agape Christian School Torchbearers (3-4), KHS (2-3), SSHS (2-3), and the Saipan International School Geckos (0-4) are all trailing at a distance.
MHS also has a hold on first place in freshmen play with a solid record of 3-1 that fronts KHS (2-2) and SSHS (1-2).
There are no games scheduled for today as the season continues tomorrow at 4pm at the MHS Gym with a junior pairing between ACS and KHS followed by the main varsity ticket featuring Eucon versus KHS at 5:30pm.
The varsity match started out in a 21-all deadlock after the opening 10 minutes and remained anyone's game at intermission.
SSHS' Jack Aranda and Emerson Feria teamed up for a baker's dozen that was complemented by a handful of free throws by Bryl Alegre, while MHS utilized a more collaborative effort, scoring with six different sets of hands.
Then Rays point man Aranda pulled on a 7-point string to start the second period and then distributed to his comrades as the group clung to the lead, 43-41, at halftime. MHS' John Darag sank two 3-pointers for 12 markers in frame two.
The second half unfolded nothing like the former as SSHS ran away from its rivals, 64-53, in the third period.
Aranda went off for 11 points in the surge and the team never looked back in the final exchange.
Feria came up big in the payoff period and logged 9 points to safe-guard the victory.
Aranda led three teammates in double figures with 25 points, while Darag topped the box score with 26 in defeat.
In the junior match, MHS trotted in front, 14-6, in the first quarter off 7 markers by big man Shane Deleon Guerrero and managed to cling to the lead at midpoint, 25-19, as SSHS' James Kintaro and Tyler Palacios led a second quarter rally with 6 points apiece.
MHS had an ace up its sleeve, however and unleashed its sixth man, Justin Cayading, in the third quarter who broke loose for a dozen points that helped the Dolphins pull away, 45-25.
MHS had little trouble securing the win in the last frame as Cayading added 7 more for good measure and finished with a game-high 19 points, while SSHS' Kintaro turned in 18 on the short end.
Jun Fidelino and Kobe Mendoza paced MHS in the first quarter of the freshmen game with a couple of baskets apiece for an early, 11-7, advantage and a handful of checks by their teammate Justin Loza in the second quarter preserved a 19-12 favor at the half.
MHS was then stood up in the third quarter and managed just one bucket as SSHS' mainstay Art Borromeo put his Rays within a possession heading into crunch time, 18-21.
At that point Borromeo had accounted for all but 4 of SSHS' offense, but he was held to just a basket down the home stretch as the Dolphins came together as a group and easily secured the win.
Five MHS players contributed points in the last period though it was four quarters of tough defense that won the game. Fidelino led the Dolphins in scoring with 9 points.
SSHS 94 - Aranda 25, Feria 19, Andrews 14, Alegre 12, Villagomez 6, Villanueva 6, Mariano 5, Javier 4, De Guzman 2, Salem 1.
MHS 73 - Darag 26, Dela Rosa 12, Aguilar 11, Macahito 9, Zapantra 9, Santos 3, Ano 2, Mancao 1.
Scoring by quarters: 21-21, 43-41, 70-53, 94-73.
MHS 58 - Cayading 19, Deleon Guerrero 17, Benavente 5, De Guzman 5, Manalili 4, Arciaga 4, Hemley 2, Ringor 2..
SSHS 42 - Kintaro 18, Palacios 10, Ferrer 9, Castro 2, Raquepo 2, Acopiado 1.
Scoring by quarters: 14-6, 25-19, 45-25, 58-42.
MHS 33 - Fidelino 9, Mendoza 8, Loza 5, Admana 4, A Francisco 3, Cosino 2, Deocares 2.
SSHS 25 - Borromeo 16, Villafuerte 3, K Deleon Guerrero 2, Sagun 2, Flores 1, Tekopua 1.
Scoring by quarters: 11-7, 19-12, 21-18, 33-25.