Agape Christian School and Grace Christian Academy arranged their championship duel in the girls division of the 2018-2019 Commonwealth Coalition of Private Schools Association Middle School Basketball League after eliminating their respective opponents yesterday.
In the curtain-raiser of the double-header at the Koblerville Gymnasium, No. 1 seed ACS quelled No. 4 Seventh Day Adventist’s late-game comeback attempt to take a 26-20 victory and the first finals berth.
The Lady Torchbearers’ 19-7 lead in the first half proved helpful in safeguarding themselves against the Lady Guardians’ surge in the closing minutes of the semis game.
Marielle Lopez and Leoni Li teamed up for 7 points in the last quarter to keep SDA’s hopes alive, but Agape’s hot start was more than enough to steady the ship en route to a finals trip.
The Lady Torchbearers managed to gain enough cushion early in the game after leading in the first quarter, 9-5. Mei Ou and Lynn Zhao combined for three point-blank shots and Jenny Lin nailed a trey. Lopez, on the other hand, shouldered all of SDA’s points.
Lin continued to contribute to Agape’s offense, as she glided in for three fastbreak layups in the second period, while Ou and Kristy Wang chipped in one field goal apiece. While the Lady Torchbearers received contributions from three different players, only Bomee Park hit a field goal for the Lady Guardians, allowing Agape to take a double-digit advantage at the break.
After the lull, Lopez regained her touch and scored all 6 points of SDA in the penultimate period. Agape was outgunned for the first time, as it tallied only 4 points, but still led by a good margin, 23-13, heading into the final canto.
In the fourth period, SDA continued its uphill climb behind Li and Lopez, while Agape’s offense tapered off. However, the Lady Torchbearers’ early lead and Lin’s fastbreak layup and a split free throw in the fourth quarter were enough to halt the Lady Guardian’s gutsy rally.
Lin paced Agape with her 12 points, while Ou added 8. Lopez led all scorers with her 16 markers.
In the second semis game, No. 3 GCA stunned No. 2 Mount Carmel School, 23-15.
With the Lady Eagles hanging on to an 8-5 halftime edge, they held the Lady Knights to one field goal in the third period for more breathing room, 15-8. GCA went on to keep its safe distance in the fourth canto to secure the second finals ticket.
Soleil Lamar finished with 13 points—11 were delivered in the second half—to help bring GCA to the championship game. She drew enough help from Katriel Saures and Azriel Fatialofa, who added 6 and 4 markers, respectively. Kaeli Pathil had 6 points for Mt. Carmel, while Kayili Peter registered 4.
The Lady Eagles and Lady Torchbearers will dispute the division title tomorrow at 3:30pm at the Koblerville Gymnasium.
Meanwhile, the semis games in the boys division will also tip off at 3:30pm today at the Koblerville facility with No. 1 Agape facing with No. 5 Saipan Community School. In the second Final Four tiff at 4:30pm, No. 2 Mt. Carmel will take on No. 3 GCA. Winners of today’s matches will play in the championship game this Friday.
Agape 26—Lin 12, Ou 8, Wang 4, Zhao 2.
SDA 20—Lopez 16, Li 2, Park 2.
Scoring by quarters: 9-5, 19-7, 23-13, 26-20
GCA 23—Lamar 13, Saures 6, Fatialofa 4.
MCS 15—Pathil 6, Peter 4, Chavez 3, Matsumoto 2.
Scoring by quarters: 4-4, 8-5, 15-8, 23-15