Eucon International School denied Mount Carmel School entry to the win column in the varsity division of the 2013-2014 Marianas Interscholastic Sports Organization Boys Basketball League after posting a 55-47 victory last Friday night at the Marianas High School Gymnasium.
The Blazers limited the Knights to 2 points in the last 4:48 of the game to hand Mt. Carmel its fifth loss in as many matches. Eucon bagged its third win in six games to move up to third place behind unbeaten MHS (5-0) and Saipan Southern High School (3-2).
Eucon, which opened an 8-point lead in the first minute of the fourth canto, 44-36, played steadier past the halfway mark of the payoff period after Mt. Carmel threatened a comeback. The Knights moved within 1, 45-46, as they outgunned the Blazers in the next four minutes of the fourth, 9-2, behind Jared Sablan’s back-to-back layups, William Camacho’s triple, and Soon Hyung Kwon’s putback.
Mt. Carmel had several chances to steal the lead in the ensuing plays, but took time to set up its offense and was forced to take hurried shots most of the time and muffed them, while a split free throw from Amos Ren halted the Knights’ rally.
Ren followed it up with a layup to give Eucon more distance, while team captain Allen Yu delivered the killer blows, scoring the Blazers’ last 6 points. Yu made the dagger in the last two minutes with his and-1 play. He nailed the bonus charity and then trooped to the line anew for a split, as the Knights struggled to pull up for shots in their next two possessions. A fastbreak layup from Yu gave the Blazers their biggest led, 55-45, before Min Su Kim ended Mt. Carmel’s drought with his undergoal stab in the last seven seconds of the match.
The Knights earned only 2 points for nearly the remaining half of the pivotal fourth, as its offense became too predictable with either Sablan going for daredevil drives or Camacho pulling up for jumpers.
Mt. Carmel suffered another loss despite controlling the first half of the weekend match. The Knights led by as much as 8 points in the first half, 21-29, before settling for a 29-23 advantage at the break. Eucon then regrouped in the third to wrestle the upper hand, 42-36. The Blazers, which held Mt. Carmel to one field goal and 7 points in the third, forced the first deadlock in the second half, 35-all, after Michael Zhang’s pull-up jumper from the baseline at the 3:38 of the third. The Marcus Little-coached Eucon then had a 7-1 windup to take the momentum of the game.
SIS 43, Eucon 32
In the junior varsity game, Saipan International School notched its second straight win after outclassing Eucon.
The victory also avenged the Geckos’ 28-48 defeat to the Blazers in the first round. SIS lost two more games after bowing to Eucon before barging into the win column with an upset over Southern late last month, 44-39.
Against Eucon, the Geckos saved the best for last, scoring 19 points against only 4 for the Blazers to turn a 24-28 deficit at the end of the third to an 11-point win.
As expected, Christopher Cepeda towed SIS to its second consecutive victory, as he drilled a game-high 19 points. He made 11 of them in the crucial fourth quarter, including the Geckos’ first 5 markers in that period.
Eucon, which dropped to a 2-2 record, fell apart in the fourth frame, as only Jack Wang hit baskets for the Blazers.
SIS 43 – Cepeda 19, H. Kim 8, Johnson 7, Y. Kim 5, Cepeda 3, Smith 2.
Eucon 32 – Jac. Wang 13, Pecson 7, Vidal 4, Je. Wang 4, Jam. Wang 2, Ji 2.
Scoring by quarters: 7-7, 15-15, 23-28, 43-32.
Eucon 55 – Yu 18, Ren 10, Zhang 10, R. Wang 7, Li 4, J. Wang 4.
MCS 47 – Sablan 17, Camacho 15, Kwon 8, Toves 2, Kim 2.
Scoring by quarters: 15-17, 23-29, 42-36, 55-47.