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ISLANDERS SECURE BASKETBALLS TOP SPOT

The JFK Islanders secured the top spot after defeating the St. Paul Warriors Tuesday night despite playing down the stretch without star guard Kurtis Silva.

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By Kolby Chang

In spite of losing standout guard Kurtis Silva to an ankle injury in the third quarter, the JFK Islanders held on for a key 71-58 victory over the resilient St. Paul Christian Warriors in the IIAAG Boys’ Basketball League on Tuesday night at the St. Paul gym.

Boys Basketball STANDINGSThe Islanders’ record now stands at an impressive 13-2 as this squad is looking more the part of a title contender after emerging with a convincing win against a strong opponent and without one of their star players.

“We just had to maintain our composure. We couldn’t rush anything because they’re feeding off their momentum. We’re glad we hit our free throws and finished the game,” Silva said.

The Warriors fall to 9-4 but displayed their heart in the second half with two late rallies that had the home crowd cheering each basket. Thanks to a quick-handed, sniping defense that resulted in numerous fast breaks and open shots, the Islanders were up by 24 points going into the third quarter.

The Warriors, however, put together an 10-3 run late in the quarter to put the visiting team on edge and gave the Warrior faithful a little something to build upon.

Jason Aquino ignited the rally with strong to the hoop for the layup. The Warrior then defense forced a turnover and Rod Santos went to the rack for another layup. Brian Tsuji then hit a tear drop floater in the lane and Aquino repeated his foray into the paint but got fouled on the way in. Aquino buried both free throws and big man John San Andres followed that up with two more free throws.

The Islanders, however, did not flinch and put a halt to the skid when Ziggy Corcuera drilled a three-pointer to silence the home crowd. The Islanders kept the pressure on the Warriors and again built the lead up to 64-40 after William Belger hit a wide-open layup under the basket after getting a nice assist from Wayne Jesus. Siva rolled his ankle shortly after and was forced to miss the remainder of the game.

Going into the fourth quarter without Silva in the mix, the Warriors railed again and got the lead down to ten points after San Andres put back his own missed shot to make the score 65-55 with 2:08 left.

Islanders’ William Belger attempted a shot for two with this long jumper over Warriors’ Kris Conlu. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Islanders’ William Belger attempted a shot for two with this long jumper over Warriors’ Kris Conlu. (photo by Jesse Castro)

With about a minute and a half remaining, Santos then drilled a triple from the corner to cut the lead down to seven points.

The Warriors were forced to foul Belger on the next play after the Islanders worked the clock down to less than one minute and Belger calmly sank both free throws. The Warriors had their shot but missed some open looks and the Islanders walked away with another win.

Belger lead the Islanders with 24 points and Silva added 16 points. Jesus scored 13 points and Corcuera finished the game with 10 points.

San Andres paced the Warriors with 20 points and Aquino chipped in 19 points.

PHOTO GALLERY:

Warriors’ Chris Monk took the chance at putting three on the board. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Warriors’ Chris Monk took the chance at putting three on the board. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Warriors’ Brian Tsujii trying to dribble the ball around Islanders’ William Belger, but was unable to overcome the Islander defense. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Warriors’ Brian Tsujii trying to dribble the ball around Islanders’ William Belger, but was unable to overcome the Islander defense. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Islanders’ Aljurrel Grape drove up the lane and through the Warriors’ defense in an attempt for two. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Islanders’ Aljurrel Grape drove up the lane and through the Warriors’ defense in an attempt for two. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Warriors gather around to end the timeout break. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Warriors gather around to end the timeout break. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Islanders coach talks to his team during a timeout. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Islanders coach talks to his team during a timeout. (photo by Jesse Castro)

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