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BLAS TAKES OVER FOURTH

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By Robert Balajadia

The JFK Islanders were hoping to end the early hot streak the GW Geckos have been on this season, and came close, but a 14 point offensive explosion by Geckos Rashaun Blas in the fourth quarter helped GW take the 70-64 win. Blas finished with a season high 29 points.

McDonald's player of the game: Geckos' Rashaun Blas. 29 points

McDonald’s player of the game: Geckos’ Rashaun Blas. 29 points

“I saw that we were down and time was against us and we had to come back and push harder. I didn’t want to shoot so I tried to push it towards the basket and get easy points. It’s a higher percentage shot. You never know who is going to win in these kinds of games, that’s why you play basketball!” stated the ecstatic Blas.

The Geckos began the fourth quarter trailing 50-46 but full court pressure and a relentless rim attack by Blas gave GW a 58-57 lead with a little over three minutes to play. Islanders Matt Bamba gave the Islanders the lead right back with a strong drive to the rim 59-58.

The Gecko offense proceeded to attack the rim on their next offensive possession but were unable to cash in on the easy buckets around the rim. However, their effort on the offensive glass gave guard Geo Quichocho a wide open three pointer which he hit to put GW up 61-59.

“It felt good to hit the shot but it was an overall team effort. We worked to get an open shot and the shot was nice but I had a teammate open down low,” stated the humble Quichocho.

Pressure by the GW front court forced JFK into three turnovers in the final minute which they turned into points en route to the 70-64 win.

The Islanders were hit hard in the first 15 seconds of the game losing starting guard Kurtis Silva to an ankle and wrist injury after getting fouled on his way to the rim. Silva would not return and was seen on crutches with the ankle and wrist heavily wrapped.

The Islanders played well in his absence using an 11-0 run in the second quarter that was sparked by guard Ricky Pak who led JFK in scoring. Pak scored six points in the run, he finished with 11.

Geckos coach Lawrence Luces was attempting to ease his new guys in the rotation after getting the big lead but the second unit could not protect the basket allowing JFK to storm back in it. Blas and Quichocho were in foul trouble and were forced to sit majority of the second with GW hanging on to a slim 35-28 lead.

“We slept a little early, I tried to rely on the other boys. We’re trying to get everyone on the same page and its a building year for us so that experience was key for them,” stated Luces on hanging with his second unit.

Momentum was still on the Islander side after halftime having cut the lead 37-34 in the first four minutes of the third and JFK never allowed GW to get away from them.

Islanders forward Nick Masnayan got grabbed an offensive rebound and tossed up a shot over two Gecko defenders that got the crowd going to bring them within two points 45-43. Masnayan followed up his timely bucket with an even bigger shot, banking in a wide open three pointer that got the entire gym going crazy, which give them a 46-45 lead late in the third, the Islanders first of the game. Islanders forward Russell Leodones used a quick crossover that garnered some cheers to get past Blas to put JFK up 49-45 a moment later.

GW would not let up on the boards with Blas, Devin Maluwelmeng, and Mathew Soto cleaning up the offense and defensive glass. The Geckos used a full-court press to surmount the second quarter lead as well as win them the game in the fourth. That, and Rashaun Blas of course.

“These guys [Islanders] work really well together. Our game plan was to go to Rashaun in the fourth, he is MVP for our team so we are trying to ride him a little more this year. He knows his role and we will continue to go back to him,” stated Luces.

The Geckos now improve to 4-0 while the Islanders drop to 1-4.

Other Scores

FD 56, Sanchez 44IIAAG logo 1-13

Guam High 75, Harvest 46

GW 70, JFK 64

Okkodo 53, Notre Dame 38

Southern 44, St. John’s 41

 

boys hoops standings

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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.

COMING SOON …

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Here are the top 5 finishers:

 

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