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CASTRO & ROYALS SWING PAST COUGARS

The ND Royals spoiled the Academy Cougars senior night Saturday as Destiny “Queen B” Castro led ND to a big win at the Cougar gym towards the tail end of the girls basketball season.

By Robert Balajadia

The ND Royals spoiled the Academy Cougars senior night Saturday as Destiny “Queen B” Castro led ND to a big 36-29 win at the Cougar gym towards the tail end of the girls basketball season.

The intended match up was built up to be between the former teammates in Royals Castro and Cougars Kali “Special K” Benavente, but the Academy guard recently suffered an injury that kept her out of action.

“It sucks, I really never want her to get injured,” said Castro on Kali’s injury. “When she is on the court I play better. Even when we’re not on the same team we still feed off of each others game and we both play better.”

Castro still had a strong game collecting 22 points, 9 steals, and 7 boards.

The Cougars struggled offensively through the first three quarters totaling just 17 points to the Royals 33. The ND Defense held the Cougars to just four points in both the first and third quarters which was exactly the Royals game plan.

Cougars Jasie Villanueva does work on the boards to get a trip to the free throw line. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Cougars Jasie Villanueva does work on the boards to get a trip to the free throw line. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

“Our game plan was to swing the ball and play strong pressure defense. Tonight we did that pretty well since most nights we struggle with that,” said Castro, who outscored the Cougars through three quarters herself with 20 points.

Academy didn’t let their fans go home completely down as the bench rallied a late comeback in the 4th quarter.

Down 33-17 to begin the final quarter, Royals head coach Dom Sablan decided to give Castro a break as both sides began to empty their bench. The Cougars got some all around scoring from Joie Blas and Jasie Villanueva to trim the lead 33-22 when Castro made her return with four minutes to play.

Castro played two minutes, scoring her 22nd point in the period, before sitting out the final two minutes when the Cougars made their run.

Academy’s Isabel Abad hit a three pointer in transition, and another jumper from the corner to get with 36-27. Cougars Blas then made a layup with 40 seconds left to get within 36-29, but the Royals played keep away from the Cougar reserves to hold on for the win.

It was no secret that the Royals struggled when Castro was not on the floor and she believes her team just needs to be as confident as she is in them.

“The girls just need to be more confident. They showed it at some points tonight, but everyone needs to have confidence and we need to build it together as a team,” said Castro.

The Royals are enjoying a (6-3) record, their best start since 2011. The Cougars are suffering just their second loss of the season at (5-2).

Other Scores

Guam High 43, Harvest 38

Girls basketball standings

PHOTO GALLERY:

Royals' Destiny Castro outscored the Cougars herself through three quarters. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Royals’ Destiny Castro outscored the Cougars herself through three quarters. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Royals Demie Brennan attempts a turnaround jumper. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Royals Demie Brennan attempts a turnaround jumper. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Royals Caley Chargualaf gets a wide-open look at a three pointer. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Royals Caley Chargualaf gets a wide-open look at a three pointer. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Cougars Kiersten Pangelinan connects on a floater. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

Cougars Kiersten Pangelinan connects on a floater. (photo by Robert Balajadia)

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