📅18 November 2012
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By Nate San Nicolas

Knights’ Destiny Castro goes for two points. (photo by Jesse Castro)

With the gym filled and the crowd roaring for their favorite team, the St. John’s Knights rallied together to pull away with an impressive victory handing the Southern Dolphins their first loss of the season with a score of 59-56.

At the start of the game, Knights’ Kali Benavente scored two-points right away off the jump ball. However, the Southern defense kicked into high gear by playing their usual aggressive and physical style, falling to the ground on every loose ball and forcing turnovers and converting them into easy points. The Dolphins finished the first quarter 18-11, led by sharp-shooters Tanya Flores and April Talledo and team captain Paige Surber.

“Southern just plays with a lot of heart,” said Surber on the Dolphins’ relentless defense. “We never give up, we never stop playing until the last buzzer and the last points are given.”

The Dolphins continued to play hard, but the Knights were not going to allow them to walk over with an easy win. At the beginning of the second quarter, the whole audience noticed a step up in the intensity of the Knights’ defense, playing just as aggressive and physical as the Dolphins. The Knights started the quarter with a 6-0 run sparked by an impressive block by Destiny Castro, denying the Dolphins a basket and converting that strong defense into points. At that point, the Knights managed to cut the lead down to one, ending the first half.

Knights’ Paige Surber blocks Knights’ Nicolette Bulaon’s layup attempt. (photo by Jesse Castro)

The play from both teams grew so intense that in the third quarter the referees were forced to give out two technical fouls to the Dolphins; one earlier in the half, and the other towards the end of the fourth quarter. With that, the Dolphins found themselves in foul trouble early on, giving an edge to the Knights.

“Foul trouble. That really killed us tonight,” said Dolphins captain Surber. “The refs were calling every little thing. Everyone knows Southern plays scrappy defense, Southern goes for every ball. But tonight, our defense wasn’t there because things weren’t going our way.”

Knowing the struggling defense, Knights’ Castro took things into her own hands. On the defensive end, she racked up rebounds and blocks. On the offensive end, she continually took the ball from end line to end line, not only scoring herself but also freeing up the lane for other teammates. Benavente also followed in the scoring spree as she recorded steals and converted them into fast break lay-ups. Behind this, the Knights came back to take a two-point lead over the Dolphins heading into the final quarter.

The fourth quarter was no more different from the second and third as each team continually traded points back and forth. However, as the Knights acquired a five-point lead with only three minutes left, the pressure was on for the Dolphins. On the offensive side, the Dolphins struggled to find a shot. It was not until Brielle Meno made an electrifying three-point shot to bring the Dolphins within two with only a minute and a half remaining. But the excitement was short-lived as Castro immediately received the inbounds pass and did her end-to-end scoring drive. At that point, time just ran out, and the Dolphins’ pursuit of perfection came to end.

The Knights earlier in the week took a tough loss to the Academy Cougars, but coming in to Saturday night’s game was a different team who played out on the court.

Knights’ Allyson Chu and Dolphins’ Lorraine Sanchez both attempt to get the rebound. (photo by Jesse Castro)

“Our team is just getting better and better. We’re playing better as a team especially; we just try to play our best. We’re not trying to cause anything. We’re going out there and playing basketball like any other night,” stated Castro.

And Saturday night, the Knights demonstrated team play throughout the game, with Chu, Niko Bulaon, and several other Knight players contributing tremendously in the win.

Although the pursuit of perfection is gone, Southern still has a chance at the even sweeter championship title. Already facing majority of the league’s top contenders, the Dolphins are now focusing on the playoffs, where they hope to bring back another trophy for their school.

“Tonight, we expected the Knights to give us some competition, but we didn’t expect the whole team to give us competition,” commented Surber on the loss. “We needed to shut down their two best players, but we didn’t bring that. Even though we lost, we just have to take this game into consideration; both teams played their hardest, gave it their all. And we just have to continue forward and show that we still are the team to beat here.”

With that determined attitude, you can expect the playoffs to be an exciting and intense experience.

Castro led all scorers with 28 points, followed by Talledo of the Dolphins who recorded 20 points for her team.

In another game:
– The Okkodo Bulldogs pulled off another win against the ND Royals, with a 52-34 score. Felicia Borja was the top scorer of the game with 20 points. Okkodo won the JV game as well 47-25. Ke’ann Castro was the leading scored with 12 points for the JV matchup.



Knights’ Destiny Castro goes for the long two points. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Dolphins’ Paige Surber drives the ball past her defender. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Dolphins’ Tianna Sakaba goes in for the lay-up. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Knights players gather around coach Fred Peters during the end of first period. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Dolphins coach Kevin Sanchez tries to motivate the dolphins during halftime. (photo by Jesse Castro)


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