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COUGARS WIN SHOWDOWN

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By Nate San Nicolas

Cougars’ Stephanie Bordallo and Kara Duenas double team Knight’s Allyson Chu to steal the ball and force the turnover. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

On a Tuesday night in the atmosphere of an electrifying crowd, the Academy Cougars made it known why they are the defending champs after trampling over the offensive powerhouse of the St. John’s Knights with a score of 53-32.

From the start, both teams knew it would be defense that would decide the victor of the game. The first quarter ended in single digits, with Academy only up by one point, 9-8. But at the start of the second quarter, the Cougars found momentum off a steal by Alina Bonto giving her the easy lay-up which was followed by back-to-back, intimidating blocks by Kara Duenas that brought the crowd to their feet. The tough defense by the Cougars kept the Knights to only 12 points by the end of the half and limited Destiny Castro, who has been averaging 20 points a game, to only two points in the first half.

McDonald’s player of the game: Cougars’ Kara Duenas. 18 points, 12 rebounds, 6 steals, 4 assists, 2 blocks.

Duenas, the senior captain of the Cougars, led her team on defense with not only blocks but steals as well and converting them to points on the other end.

“I just don’t want them to score,” Duenas commented on her blocks and steals she recorded, “I’d do anything to prevent anyone from scoring.”

Finishing the half off 23-12 the Cougars never lost a beat, continuing their defensive streak converting steals into fast break points. The dynamic freshmen duo of the Knights, Castro and Kali Benavente, struggled the entire game searching for a way to get points on the board. But turnovers and missed shots plagued them throughout the night.

Knights’ Destiny Castro blocks a last second shot attempt by Cougars’ Kara Duenas. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

“Our game plan every game is to just play defense,” said Duenas on the game, “and tonight we just went out there and did our best. You may score on offense and all these points, but in the end, defense will win games, and that’s what we plan to do the rest of the season. We just take things one game at a time”

The Cougars are definitely a well-focused team. “It’s just another game,” commented the Cougars’ coach Tony Thompson, “just taking it one game at a time.”

With both the team captain Duenas and her coach on the same page, you can sense the determination and drive the Cougars have for bringing the championship title back home.

Duenas led all scorers with 18 points followed by teammate Alina Bonto who contributed 16 points of her won. In the losing effort, Castro led the Knights with 16 points.

In other games:
GW defeated Sanchez 36-25. Antoinette George and Rayonna Quitugua scored 12 points and nine points, respectively, for GW.

Guam High defeated St. Paul 42-36. Panthers’ Allison Bowman led all scorers with 16 points along with 22 rebounds.

Statistics courtesy of GuamBasketball.com

 

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

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

Cougars’ Alina Bonto scores the easy fast break layup with no defenders around after stealing the ball from the Knights. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Knights’ Kali Benavente attempts the running jumper over Cougars’ Tana Ramos. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Cougars’ Kara Duenas utilizes her signature drop step to get past the defense of Knights’ Alyyson Chu. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Knights block party specialist, Destiny Castro, goes for the block on Cougars’ Rebecca Rupley. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Knights’ Rianne Piana and Cougars’ Jasie Villanueva fight for possession of the rebound. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Cougars’ Rebecca Rupley dribbles around the defense of Knights’ Nicolette Bulaon. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

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QUICK HITS

Congratulations to the 2024 Guam Rugby Cup Champions: Tao Tao Mana (Men’s Cup Champions) and Southern Rugby Club (Women’s Cup Champions)
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Three graduating ruggers have signed Division I letters to play college rugby stateside.
Saige Calvo from Okkodo heads to Mount St. Mary’s
Mia Topasna from Academy heads to Lindenwood
Tanner Costa from FD heads to Iowa Central

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