Mantas, Dolphins drown opponents in HS hoops

Posted on Feb 17 2023

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Marianas High School’s Khristian David gets some air time as he attempts a layup against a Saipan International School defender in their varsity game of the 2022-2023 IT&E Interscholastic Boys High School Basketball League last Wednesday at the MHS Gymnasium. (LEIGH GASES)

The Mantas regained their composure in the second half to win against the Mount Carmel School Knights, 59-46, while the Dolphins enjoyed a lopsided victory over the Saipan International School Geckos, 52-13.

SSHS’ Christian Lucero and MCS’ Derek Sasamoto both opened the game strong from 3-point range, but a foul against Rasg Asuo shook up the Knights’ defenses a bit. 

Then, when the Manta’s Elijah Garcia got into a shooting rhythm, there was no looking back for him as he traversed Knights’ territory with ease, downing 16 consecutive points. 

However, Lance Lerio was a Knight in shining armor as he gave the Mantas a run for their money—surpassing Garcia’s point total for 19 of his own for a close 29-28 first half.

It was anybody’s game heading into the second half, with nerves showing on both sides of the court as the Mantas couldn’t really shake off the Knights just yet. 

Mantas’ John Kae Raquepo then gave the team a headstart after being fouled twice but it was an eye-for-an-eye as the Mantas fouled Lerio as well.

It was a free for all from then on with Garcia still making deadly aim of the target followed closely behind by Lerio, always closing the gap by 2 or 4 points.

Toward the end of the game though, the Mantas had pulled further away into the lead as Asuo and Jezpher Navarro tossed in a couple of 3-pointers complementing Garcia’s. 

The Mantas pulled out all the stops with the final minutes ticking by and were not phased even as the Knights tried to engage in a catch-up game. It was a little too late for them as time ran out and the boys hugged it out in a show of good sportsmanship.

Even with the loss, Lerio went home with 28 big ones, followed by a longshot of teammates Jay Francis Pineda’s 6, Sasamoto’s 5, and San Nicolas’ 4.

Garcia swished the basket in honor of Michael Jordan’s jersey number (23), followed by Asuo and Raquepo’s twinning 10 markers, and Lucero’s 8.

In the Dolphins-Geckos game right after, the mammals quickly established a huge double-digit lead against the reptiles in the first half and never once stepped on the brakes.

Led by Charlz Sanchez, the Dolphins early on had the advantage and never let it go. At the end of the first half, Sanchez banked 8, while Aiden Norita had 6 markers, as the Dolphins had the 30-6 lopsided lead.

Just as the first half, it was a walk in the park for the Dolphins in the second as the Geckos were not able to find their footing or their handle on the ball—and were reduced to just 7 more points in the game. 

The Gecko’s Yunwoo Nam had 7 markers, Omari Joab had 5, while Dwight Crisostomo added a free throw.

Sanchez finished the game with 16 points, followed by Khristian David’s 13, Aiden Norita’s 8, and Airson Atan’s 6.

In the junior varsity games prior, KHS JV beat MCS JV, 38-31 and MHS JV won against MHS JV-2, 35-12.

In the varsity standings, MHS is now tied in the lead with KHS at 4 wins and no losses each; SSHS bumped up to 3-2; MCS is at 2-2; Agape Christian School is 1-3; SIS is 0-3; and Grace Christian Academy is still 0-4. 

In the junior varsity standings, MHS JV is still undefeated at 5-0; KHS is at 3-2; MHS JV-2 is at 2-3; and MCS JV have yet to win with six losses.

SSHS 59 – Garcia 23, Raquepo 10, Asuo 10, Lucero 8, Navarro 4, Konman and Addy 2.
MCS 46 – Lerio 28, Pineda 6, Sasamoto 5, San Nicolas 4, Regalado 2, Mercado Jr. 1.
Scoring by halves: 28-27, 59-46

MHS 52 – Sanchez 16, David 13, Norita 8, Atan 6, Lukas 3, Ong, Takawo, Pelisamen Jr. 2.
SIS 13 – Nam 7, Joab 5, Crisostomo 1.
Scoring by halves: 30-6, 52-13.

Leigh Gases
Leigh Gases is the youngest reporter of Saipan Tribune and primarily covers community related news, but she also handles the utilities, education, municipal, and veterans beats. Contact Leigh at

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