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By Robert Balajadia
The JFK Islanders easily defeated the Sanchez Sharks Saturday night by playing a complete game on offense and defense ousting the Sharks on their senior night 69-40 at the Sharks home court.
Islanders Billy Belger scored the Islanders first eight points and finished with 19 points to lead all scorers. Belger hit a pair of three pointers including a pair of jumpers scoring 10 of his 19 points in the opening quarter as the Islanders led 22-8.
“We picked up our intensity from the last two games because coach said we’ve been playing sluggish,” said Belger.
Belger’s hot start on offense gave him a spike in his rhythm which he admitted helped him play at a higher intensity on the defensive end.
The Islanders jumped out to a 36-15 lead after forcing the Sharks into costly turnovers that led to easy fast break buckets for Kurtis Silva and Gino Perez. Sharks guard John Buan scored five straight points before the quarter ended to pace Sanchez, but the Islanders led 43-20 at the half.
The Islanders continued their defensive dominance in the third quarter while Belger continued to play strong. Silva missed a layup but Belger soared in and tipped the ball in with one hand that garnered “ooh’s” from the crowd.
Silva and teammate Ricky Pak controlled the fast break and repeatedly found open teammates for easy buckets.
Silva appeared to then tweak a previous injury in the quarter and exited the game. Perez went down a couple of plays later and neither men saw action for the rest of the game with the Islanders up 56-29 through three quarters. JFK’s spark off the bench Aljurrell Grape was out for the game nursing an injury suffered the previous night.
“We have to stay healthy especially heading into the playoffs,” said Islanders head coach Rey Serafico. “We’re backed up right now and it’s been a long season, but hopefully we’ll take care of our injury.
It wasn’t a great night for the Sharks who got behind early and never settled in to their offense.
JFK has the league’s best record at 12-2 and are playing great basketball as the playoff nears.
“Our strength is running up and down the court. We came out struggling after the Far East tournament and I had to wake these guys up in order to be ready for the playoffs. I trust my bench so I never hesitate to put them in.
The Islanders will officially end the regular season on Tuesday against the St. Paul Warriors.
The FD Friars rebounded from a shocking Friday night loss to the ND Royals by edging out the Guam High Panthers 58-55 Saturday night.
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