Mount Carmel School claimed its sixth consecutive championship after outclassing Grace Christian Academy, 26-18, in the girls finale of the 2018-2019 Commonwealth Coalition of Private Schools Association Varsity Basketball League last Friday at the Koblerville Gymnasium.
The Lady Knights recovered from a poor start and held the Lady Eagles scoreless in the third quarter en route to extending their reign in the division.
Mt. Carmel, which failed to light up the board in the opening quarter, employed a full court, man-to-man defense against GCA in the second canto to catch the Eagles by surprise. GCA went on to commit turnovers, while Fiona Bucalig, Franchesca Bucalig, Kalyn Diaz, Louisa Han, and Quincy Chinen cashed in on the Lady Eagles’ shaky handles and passing errors to put the Knights on top, 10-6.
After being limited to 4 points in the second canto, GCA’s offense turned from bad to worse, allowing Mt. Carmel to pull away further. The Lady Knights, on the other hand, got their acts together anew with Diaz scoring 5 points and Hyo Lim Cho, Joanie Paraiso, and Franchesca Bucalig also hitting their targets to lift Mt. Carmel to a 21-6 advantage, heading into the last quarter.
Behind by double digits, the Lady Eagles came back to life in the fourth quarter with Tina Choi and Jasmine Phan teaming up for 10 points. However, the Lady Knights would not be denied, as Chinen, Diaz, and Han also countered with timely baskets to help Mt. Carmel secure the coveted division crown.
Diaz led all scorers with her 8 points, while Franchesca Bucalig and Han chipped in with 4 apiece. Han earned the CCOPSA Championship MVP medal after showing leadership and having significant contributions to the Lady Knights’ offense and defense in the season’ finale.
“The MVP award that I received should also be awarded to every single player on my team [because] basketball is a team sport,” Han said. “Without a team and sportsmanship, we would not win championships.”
“It was a great honor to take the championship title,” the MCS captain added. “Most especially, we are very proud to continue the [championship] legacy of our AlumKnights. Our Mount Carmel Lady Knights fight extremely hard for the championship title every year, and we wanted to make those before us proud by continuing what they’ve started.”
After the game, Han acknowledged her team’s mentors and support network for the perennial success of the Lady Knights’ basketball program.
“Our success would not have been possible without our coaches—Mark and Catherine Toves—and the spiritual support from our MCS students, faculty, and family,” Han said.
MCS 1 26 —Diaz 8, Chinen 4, Fr. Bucalig 4, Han 4, Cho 2, Fi. Bucalig 2, Paraiso 2
GCA 18—Choi 6, Phan 6, Lamar 2, Saures 2, Seo.
Scoring by quarters: 0-2, 10-6, 21-6, 26-18.