By Calista Chong (18A01A) and Chung Sohyun (18A13A)
Photos by Raffles Photographic Society
Having claimed the coveted title just last year, our Basketball Girls were once again in the running to be crowned overall champion. This decisive battle was to be fought against their fierce opponent, Dunman High, who had claimed victory over the Hwa Chong team in their semifinals this year.
The girls demonstrated their prowess right from the outset. Executing smooth and long passes across the court, they gave no chance for the Dunman team to intercept the ball. Notably, #21 Rachel Yeo (18A03A) cannily alternated the speed of her dribbling before changing course abruptly, successfully breaking the strong ‘man-to-man’ defense which the Dunman team has put up. The eleventh goal was especially difficult to score due to the numerous interceptions, but by the end of the first quarter, the team had attained an eight-point lead with a score of 12-4.
After a short break, the girls returned to the court, geared up for the second quarter of the game. In less than twenty seconds, Team Raffles scored the first goal of the quarter – a three-pointer, no less – and it was clear to all that they were determined to continue their winning streak. #8 Choo Jie Ying’s (17S06S) fierce tenacity shone through when she fought hard to regain possession of the ball after a few near misses. #18 Aisling Lum (18S03S) with her dexterous dribbling, also managed to manoeuvre past the stronghold put up by the Dunman players. Ten minutes later, the whistle blew. With a score of 30-17, Team Raffles had proven their mettle once again.
When the third quarter kicked off after a short break, a noticeable change could be observed both in the varying tactics employed and the higher energy level among the Dunman team players. While Team Raffles was the first to score the goal two minutes into the quarter, Dunman caught up immediately with three consecutive goals within a minute. Both sides displayed indomitable spirit, resolved not to let the opposing team score into the basket, resulting in a long stalemate marked by numerous turnovers. Six minutes into the game, the Dunman team caught up rapidly with their well-coordinated passes, narrowing the score gap (36-30) and drawing enthusiastic cheers from Dunman supporters.
During this period, it was especially heartwarming to hear our Rafflesians’ collective shouts of “Press On!” and “Defend! Defend!” to boost our players’ morale. Indeed, undeterred, our players upped their game and picked up their pace; with skilful drilling across the play area and excellent teamwork demonstrated through smooth passes, the score gap increased once more to a 40-30. The third quarter ended with a final, hard-won goal from Raffles.
Just one more quarter stood between the players and the glorious championship trophy. The players from both sides were visibly more tired by then and the pressure to increase the score margin was understandably heavier in this final round. Still, our players refused to succumb to fatigue. Cheered on by our supportive Rafflesians, Team Raffles scored 5 consecutive goals within 3 minutes – leading by an impressive 12 points (52-30). Boosted by their successful performance, our players launched swift attacks and took advantage of the long passes by the opponents to gain possession of the ball.
As the clock ticked on, showing a mere 7 minutes left in the game, the tension escalated. Players displayed more aggression, with one Rafflesian and Dunman player even rolling onto the floor after a collision. In the final two minutes of the game, Raffles scored another 3 consecutive goals, gaining a comfortable 26-point lead (62-36). The Dunman players were admirable in their unyielding spirit to fight till the very last second, but the last goal went to Raffles once more, and the match ended victoriously for Team Raffles, with a score of 64 points.
Angus Yip (18A01A), a spectator, praised the nimbleness of the players in “[responding] to every move”, and affirmed that the “players’ determination to win was clear to everyone watching”. His comment was apposite – the girls emerged triumphant not only because of skill, but also their spunk.
Raffles Press would like to congratulate the Basketball Girls on their well-fought, well-deserved victory and wish them the best for future matches to come.
#5: Jeannine Tang Kai Wen 17S06S
#7: Rhianne Caitlin Vaz Xin Ying 18S03Q
#8: Choo Jie Ying 17S06S
#9: Sophia Isabelle Ang Su Min 17S03M
#10: R Shalleeni 17S07B
#11: Kelly Tan Si Qi 18S03D
#12: Lin Yi Han 17S03G
#13: Tan Jia Hui Sofia 18S06J
#15: Shriya Chettiar 17S03P
#18: Lum Chee Ching, Aisling 18S03S
#21: Rachel Yeo Pei Shan 18A03A
#76: Tiong Zilin, Shannon 18S07B