Saipan International School bagged the championship in the boys middle school division of the 2014-2015 Coalition of Private School Sports Association Basketball League after whipping Mt. Carmel School in yesterday’s finale, 44-27, at the Gilbert C. Ada Gymnasium.
Benjamin Zhu towed SIS to the come-from-behind win, scoring a game-high 22 points, while frontliners A.J. Hudkins, Mike Lee, and Eric Kizer provided enough support in the Geckos’ 17-point victory.
Benjamin Zhu sparked SIS’ fightback late in the second quarter as he scored 7 straight points. Before his string of baskets, Zhu and the Geckos faced an 8-13 deficit. Zhu earned his successive points on fastbreak layups and drives, as the Knights defense failed to neutralize him.
With Zhu leading SIS, the title match was back to square one after the first half, 19-all. Zhu slowed down a bit in the third period, making only one field goal, but Hudkins and Mike Lee stepped up. The duo along with Kizer dominated the rebounding department, giving SIS several second chance points. Hudkins and Mike Lee combined for 7 points in the third, lifting SIS to a 27-21 advantage, entering the final canto.
The Geckos kept the driver’s seat in the fourth canto and even pulled away past the halfway mark of that period off Zhu’s layups and Hudkins and Lee’s putbacks. The Knights failed to mount a comeback in the final frame as it resorted to outside shooting and never hit a single triple, canning only three field goals.
Hudkins, Mike Lee, and Kizer combined for 20 points for SIS, while Anthony Zhu completed the Geckos’ box score, chipping in 2. Other members of the champion squad are Billy Lee, Jun Bum Huh, Jayson Pascual, Henry Qian, Morgan Kim, Mock You, Tony Kim, Ricky Wang, and Kevin Park. Rick Linkenhelt coached the Geckos.
Earlier, Mt. Carmel School ruled the girls division following a 28-12 victory over Grace Christian Academy in their title match.
The Lady Knights capitalized on the misfiring Eagles to clinch the girls championship that eluded the former last season when they lost to Whispering Palms, 11-16.
Every time GCA muffed on its offensive set, Mt. Carmel came rushing to its frontcourt for the breakaway baskets. Louisa Han drilled most of those shots as she top-scored for the Lady Knights with her 12 points. Han also drew help from Hyo Lim Cho and Bun Seo Choi, as Mt. Carmel zeroed in on the title win, 26-9, going into the final canto.
The Lady Eagles failed to hit double figures after three quarters as they were scoreless in the first frame, made only 5 points in the second and continued to bleed for points in the first four minutes of the third until Karena Torres scored the team’s only third goal in the match. Torres was also fouled on her way to the basket, but missed an and-1 play.
Jasmine Phan was the only other GCA player to notch a field goal in the third period and added one free throw in the fourth, while Torres got another basket. Han gave the Lady Knights their lone field goal in the fourth period.
MCS 28 – Han 12, Choi 6, Cho 5, Diaz 3, Alcantara 2.
GCA 12 – Torres 9, Phan 3.
Scoring by quarters: 6-0, 16-5, 26-9, 28-12.
SIS 44 – B. Zhu 22, Hudkins 10, M. Lee 7, Kizer 3, A. Zhu 2.
MCS 27 – K. Santos 11, Tkel 10, Ong 4, Jones 2.
Scoring by quarters: 7-9, 19-19, 29-21, 44-27.