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KNIGHTS EXTEND WIN STREAK

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By Nate San Nicolas

Knights’ Kali Benavente scores the fast break layup despite the sprinting defense of Royals’ Taylor Crisostomo. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

On a Friday evening, you could feel the intensity in the air as the St. John’s Knights were led by the well-known freshman tag team as they managed to pull away with a 57-39 victory over the aggressive Notre Dame Royals, improving to 5-1 and continuing their four game win streak.

As with every other night, you can expect a high-powered offensive performance from the Lady Knights’ basketball team. And Friday night was no exception as Kali Benavente and Destiny Castro led all players with a total of 49 points combined.

However, the ND Royals weren’t going to let the two underclassmen walk over them that easily as Taylor Crisostomo and Demi Shimizu showed relentless and aggressive defense, converting turnover into points.

At the beginning of the game, both teams did not fail to find a rhythm as they traded points back and forth staying neck and neck. But as the first quarter came to an end, Castro took things in her hands by nailing a long two-point shot at the buzzer to give her team the momentum at the start of  the second quarter.

McDonald’s player of the game: Knights’ Kali Benavente, 22 points, 12 assists, 5 steals.

The Knights carried this momentum into the second quarter to finish the half off with a 15-4 run.

At the start of the second half the Royals decided to step up their defense, challenging numerous attempts by Castro and forcing her to struggle to find the basket on easy lay-ins. Crisostomo became the go-to girl in the third quarter for the Royals scoring seven of her 19 points in the third quarter.

Deciding that enough was enough, Benavente took control of the game contributing on the defensive end as well as on offense. She recorded four steals in the second half, converting them to easy fast-break points. And on the half-court game, she was involved in every scoring opportunity making assists and baskets for the Knights.

Benavente finished the game strong with a double-double of 22 points and 12 assists along with five steals. Castro led all-scorers with 27 points. Crisostomo led the Royals with 19 points, and Shimizu contributed nine in the loss.

Royals’ Demi Shimizu tries to get her layup over the high contest of Knights’ Destiny Castro. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

The Knights are now preparing for a tough game next week against the defending champions, Academy Cougars.

“Tonight we made a lot of mistakes, and ND played tough defense tonight,” said Benavente after the game “They played physically, but we managed to hold on.”

The freshman point guard takes on a lot of responsibility of the team, and having to lead as a freshman on a Varsity squad is a lot of pressure on its own. When asked how she deals with the heat, she said, “I just try my best no matter what, not allowing any other players in the league to bring me down just because I’m younger.”

With a humble and determined attitude, you can expect a highly competitive game come Tuesday night, as they take on the Academy Cougars on the road.

 

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

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

Royals’ Taylor Crisostomo grabs an offensive rebound to score the easy layup. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Knights’ Kali Benavente was a force from the outside where she scored many of her 22 points. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Knights’ Allyson Chu protects the ball from the double team of Royals’ Gianni Toves and Taylor Crisostomo. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Knights’ Destiny Castro scores the short jumper off her offensive rebound. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

Royals’ Taylor Crisostomo contests the shot from Knights’ Rianne Piana. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

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COMING SOON …

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QUICK HITS

The Guam men’s national basketball team moved up four slots in the FIBA World Ranking to #72 after an impressive win over Mongolia and a hard-fought loss to Japan.
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Shawn Bamba won the Arizona state wrestling championship while siblings Jussiah and Justyn took third place in their divisions at state.
Shawn (12th) won the 150-lb division while Jussiah (11th) took bronze in the 120-lb class and Justyn (9th) took bronze in the 106-lb category.
All three were born on Guam before moving to Surprise, Arizona in 2014, where they all picked up wrestling in 2016.
Their parents are Justin and Shannon Bamba from Pago Bay.

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