North Vista on track to defend B boys' basketball title
Defending champions North Vista Secondary School (NVSS) delivered a strong statement of intent as they defeated Woodgrove Secondary School (WGS) 70-49 in the Schools Nationals boys' B Division basketball quarter-finals at Clementi Sports Hall yesterday.
With this result, NVSS sealed top spot in Group B to enter the last four, while third-placed WGS were eliminated.
Only the top two teams of each group advance to the semi-finals.
NVSS seized the initiative early in the match, ending the first quarter with a 16-6 lead against the North Zone runners-up.
Forward Tiong Chuan Yao proved too hot to handle during the opening period, scoring 10 points.
However, WGS, led by the impressive centre Owen Liow, came roaring back in the second quarter, outscoring their opponents 18-8 to go into half-time tied at 24-24.
The title holders then began to flex their might in the second half, thanks to some precision shooting from captain Cheng Ye Hui, who ended the game with 15 points, including two three-pointers, and Chuan Yao, who finished as his team's top-scorer with 23 points.
NVSS' power forward Ye Hui was determined to demonstrate that the team's triumph last year was no fluke.
The 17-year-old said: "Since we are the defending champions, we have to prove ourselves.
"Our intent was to make other teams fear us."
On the other hand, NVSS coach Ong Yao Kwang, 50, insisted that his team still have much to improve on.
He said: "Mentally, Woodgrove were weak, they lacked stamina.
"It's not that we wanted to play using fouls, but we needed to give them a lot of pressure.
"To us, it's not all about winning the tournament again, but playing to impress."
WGS coach Raven Tan admitted that his team were not in their best condition.
The 27-year-old said: "We had some hiccups leading up to this match. Our players had injuries, disciplinary issues, and there were players who fell ill to dengue fever.
"We can't control these factors, but we do our best to help the players go as far as they can."
Next up for NVSS will be Group A runners-up Presbyterian High School, who lost 57-56 to Christ Church Secondary School (CCSS) on Monday.
In the other Group B quarter-final match yesterday, Unity Secondary School beat Fairfield Methodist School (Secondary) 59-38 to earn a semi-final meeting with CCSS.