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COUGARS CAN’T BE STOPPED

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By Nate San Nicolas

Cougars’ Alina Bonto was able to score this and-one layup through the hard foul from Bulldogs’ Chyna Ramirez. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Both with one loss a piece, the Academy Cougars and the Okkodo Bulldogs both duked it out on Tuesday night as the home team Cougars were able pounce away with a 59-42 victory, putting them tied for first place in the standings with the Southern High Dolphins.

At the start of the game, a strong defense was present on both sides of the court. The Cougars were able to hold the Bulldogs’ top scorer Felicia Borja to only two points in the first quarter, while Okkodo also found success in limiting team captain Kara Duenas to three points.

With both teams being relentless on the defensive end, it was the Cougars who were the first to find a hole in the Bulldogs defense as Alina Bonto sparked the Academy offense completing a tough three-point play after being fouled on a drive to the basket with only 26 seconds left in the first quarter. This gave the Cougars a 14-7 lead heading into the second quarter.

The second quarter started out with momentum over at the home team’s bench. Bonto sparked another run as she took to the basket and drew a foul on her way in to another three-point play.

The Bulldogs were still unable to find room against the Cougars defense, and to make matters worse, go-to player Borja was facing foul trouble early in the game forcing her coach to put her on the bench early on.

McDonald’s player of the game: Cougars’ Rebecca Rupley. 13 points, 5 steals, 3 assists.

Continuing their hard defense the Cougars then increased their intensity, ending the half with a comfortable lead of 30-16. However, they’d have to continue to keep playing hard if they want to keep limiting the eager Bulldogs.

Going into the second half, it looked like a whole new Bulldogs team on the court. Borja, who faced foul trouble in the first half, decided to put the Cougars in foul trouble themselves as Academy recorded three team fouls only a minute into the half. After that, it was Borja who began to run the Bulldogs offense, finding her scoring rhythm early on.

However, the Cougars weren’t going to let one player run over them that easily. Cougars senior team captain Rebecca Rupley took charge of the game as she led her team defensively and offensively, recording four steals in the second half alone and converting them into easy lay-ups. Showing more of her skills, Rupley continued to step her way past the defense, splitting the Bulldogs on multiple occasions and completing impressive drives and lay-ups.

Even though the Cougars continued to dominate, Borja was relentless. Playing aggressively to the basket, she was able to find her place at the line eight times in the second half, scoring mainly on free-throws alone. Showing more of her versatility, Borja was able to sink some long shots behind the arc, giving a short scare to the Cougars.

Bulldogs’ Felicia Borja had yet another 20+ point game in the loss. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

But maintaining their posture and staying mentally strong, the Cougars continued to play their game and were able to come up with that hard-earned victory.

“It was pretty exciting, I felt that our coaches prepared us very well mentally,” said Rupley on the night’s game.“It’s all a matter of just preparing ourselves mentally before every game. We just stick to our game plan, one we’ve been working on all season, and hoping we pull through with what our coaches taught us.”

With this win, the Cougars are now tied with the Southern Dolphins with one loss a piece. The Dolphins were the only team thus far to beat the Academy Cougars, and they will be matching up once more before the playoffs kick off.

Rupley was the leading scorer for the Cougars, with 13 points and adding in five steals and three assists as well. Borja was the top scorer of the game with 23 points of her own, 19 of which came from the second half.

Other Games:
– St. Johns beats Guam High 45-31 in the Varsity match, Destiny Castro and Kali Benavente led their team with 15 points each. St. Johns won the JV game against the Panthers, 17-13.

– ND falls to the Sanchez Sharks 43-34. Sharks’ Shaniah Aguon leads all scorers with 18 points, while ND’s Taylor Crisostomo contributed 16 points for her team.

– The Dolphins swim away with another victory over the Harvest Eagles, 71-31. April Talledo and Tanya Flores scored 20 points and 14 points respectively for the Dolphins, while Tatyana Ungacta records 12 points for the Eagles.

– St. Paul prevailed over the GW Geckoes 72-43. St. Paul’s Joy Pangelinan led all scorers with 34 points. GW pulled away with a 35-19 win in the JV matchup.

 

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

http://www.akguam.com/ou/tamuning-scion/

Cougars’ Gemilie Ilao cuts the baseline to score the layup. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Bulldogs’ Anisha Nedlic contests the jump shot from Cougars’ Jasie Villanueva. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Cougars’ Kara Duenas takes the fade away jumper off a post move. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Bulldogs’ Felicia Borja tries to dribble though the defense of Cougars’ Gemilie Ilao. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Cougars’ Alina Bonto gets into her triple threat stance to face the defense of Bulldogs’ Chyna Ramirez. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

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