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COUGARS END WITH WIN

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By Kolby Chang

Royals' Destiny Castro dribbles past Gemilie Ilao and was able to go on to score the basket. (photo by Joey Blas)

Royals’ Destiny “Queen-B” Castro dribbles past Gemilie Ilao and was able to go on to score the basket. (photo by Joey Blas)

The Academy Cougars were simply too much for the ND Royals. A well-balanced Cougars squad overwhelmed the Royals and romped to a 54-28 win in the IIAAG Girls Basketball League Friday night at the Academy gym and ended the season with an impressive 11-1 record – best in the league.

The defending champion Cougars begin their quest for another title next week when the playoffs start.

“It’s always important to end the regular season with a victory,” said Cougars’ coach Eddie Pelkey. “We got to get focused and we got to get our mind set. We’re going to enjoy this victory tonight but the real season starts on Tuesday.”

Pelkey added that it’s critical that the team focus all their attention on the next game because that will decide if the Cougars advance to the next round or go home empty-handed.

“We’re not looking past anyone else. Whoever we’re playing on Tuesday is our biggest threat because if we can’t win that game we can’t get to where we want to go,” Pelkey said.

Alina “ICE” Bonto led the Cougars with a game-high 22 points, while Gemilie Ilao chipped in seven points. The Cougars bench provided some scoring punch as well as Dolores Herrera scored eight points and Kali Benavente added six points along with five assists.

Academy Alina "ICE" Bonto drills the three pointer to increase the lead over the Royals. (photo by Joey Blas)

Cougars’ Alina “ICE” Bonto drills the three pointer to increase the lead over the Royals. (photo by Joey Blas)

Bonto opened the game with a strong left-handed drive straight to the rack and followed it up with another layup off a fast break. Not to be outdone, Royals’ guard Destiny “Queen-B” Castro split the Cougar defense and laid the ball off the glass to make the score 4-2.

The two-point deficit was as close as the Royals were going to get as the Cougars had too many weapons on offense for the visiting team to contain. Benavente entered the fray about midway through the first quarter and converted a fast break layup to put the Cougars up 10-4.

In the second quarter, Benavente fired a crosscourt dime to Bonto who drove baseline and buried a layup plus the foul to make it 15-4. Castro and the Royals, however, rallied and cut the deficit to 17-12 after Castro stole a pass and drained a 12-foot jumper on the fast break.

The Cougars answered with a 10-0 run capped off by a Bonto triple from the corner. Towards the end of the quarter, Benavente ripped away a pass and dropped a no-look assist to Erin Wong for the bucket and foul.

Pelkey put in his bench early in the third quarter and Herrera responded by knocking down back-to-back three pointers and sunk in a short jumper in the paint. Bonto and Ilao reentered the game in the final minute of the fourth quarter and Bonto sealed a stellar performance with another three-pointer for the final score.

Castro paced the Royals with 15 points and Corina Dudkiewicz added four points. The Royals ended their season with a 5-7 record.

Other Scores

Southern 62, Guam High 19 (SO: Flores 14 pts, Tenorio 12 pts)

Okkodo 62, St. Paul 58

Sanchez 44, JFK 43 (2OT)

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

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

Cougars Jasie Villanueva  attempts a shot over Royals' Corina Dudkeiwicz. (photo by Joey Blas)

Cougars Jasie Villanueva attempts a shot over Royals’ Corina Dudkeiwicz. (photo by Joey Blas)

Royals' Cabrini Cruz dribbles the ball down court and looks for an open teammate. (photo by Joey Blas)

Royals’ Cabrini Cruz dribbles the ball down court and looks for an open teammate. (photo by Joey Blas)

Academy Gemile Ilao goes up for the layup over Royals' Demi Brennan. (photo by Joey Blas)

Academy Gemile Ilao goes up for the layup over Royals’ Demi Brennan. (photo by Joey Blas)

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After winning the title with ND in 2019, Tiyan Titan head coach Conrad Kerber has the Lady Titans sitting at 2nd place in the league with one week left in the season, the highest placement the Titans have ever been.

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