For the third straight season, Agape Christian School and Mt. Carmel School will dispute the boys middle school championship in the Commonwealth Coalition of Private School Association Basketball League.
Agape arranged a finals rematch against Mt. Carmel after nosing out Grace Christian Academy, 34-31, in the second semis game last Tuesday at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium. Earlier in the first Final Four match, the Knights eased past Saipan International School, 41-18, to move ahead to the championship game.
The victory in the second semis tiff was a come-from-behind one for Agape, as it was down by 3 points entering the fourth canto, 25-28. Sam Ryu made 6 of GCA’s 12 points in the third period, while Edward Kil had a pair of field goals to extend their team’s lead after holding a shaky 16-15 advantage at the half. However, the Eagles failed to keep the driver’s seat in the payoff quarter, allowing Agape to steal the victory.
David Zheng led the Torchbearers fightback in the final canto after making two field goals and a split free throw. Silas Xu also knocked in crucial charities in the homestretch going 2-for-3, while Andrew Zhao and Bobby Bao added one free throw apiece. Su and Zhang top-scored for the Todd Pane-coached Agape, firing 12 points each. Bao contributed 7, while Liang tallied 2.
While Agape had a decent shooting percentage from the foul line, GCA had a woeful 0-for-6 clip from the stripe. The Eagles were also held to a field goal—courtesy of Seth Balakrishna’s triple—failing to end their finals drought and spoil the Torchbearers-Knights title showdown. The last time GCA made it to the championship game was during the 2012-2013 season, which it won after dominating Mt. Carmel, 39-25 for the Eagles’ back-to-back championships.
With GCA out of the finals, it’s now Agape’s turn to earn two straight titles in the middle school division. The Torchbearers took last season’s championship after outclassing Mt. Carmel, 33-19. The Knights, on the other hand, prevailed in their first title match during the 2015-2016 season, 40-38.
This season, the Torchbearers and Knights are even, too with the latter winning their meeting in the first round, 31-16, and the former ruling their second faceoff, 35-30.
The Agape-Mt. Camel third consecutive finals meeting will be played today at 4:30pm after the girls title match between the Lady Knights and Seventh Day Adventist at 3:30pm.
ACS 34 — Xu 12, Zheng 12, Bao 7, Liang 2, Zhao 1.
GCA 31 — Lee 10, Kil 6, Ryu 6, Balakrishna 6, Si 3.
Scoring by quarters: 11-10, 15-16, 25-28, 34-31.