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ISLANDERS TOPPLE UNBEATEN PANTHERS

The JFK Islanders ended the unbeaten streak of the Guam High Panthers Friday night in thrilling fashion by beating them at the Panther home court in Agana Heights.

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By Robert Balajadia

The JFK Islanders ended the unbeaten streak of the Guam High Panthers Friday night in thrilling fashion by beating them 49-45 at the Panther home court in Agana Heights. The Panthers drop to (5-1) while the Islanders improve to (6-1)

Boys Basketball STANDINGS 3.pdf-page-001Islanders’ Kurtis Silva had a team high 22 points, including clutch buckets down the stretch to snap the Panther streak. However, heading into the game, Silva was not focused on giving the Panthers their first loss but instead just picking up another win.

“We were just preparing for this like it was any other game. The records didn’t matter, we were just trying to get another win. It was good, none-the-less, but there was no pressure. We just wanted the W,” said Silva.

Panthers Austy Hines had a game high 23 points in the loss.

The Islanders were trailing 39-36 in the fourth quarter before going on a 9-0 run led by Ricky Pak and Silva to extend the Islander lead 45-39 with less than a minute left to play. Hines continued to work his way into the post to end the drought, but a layup by Silva through a Panther double-team down the other end quickly put the Islanders up 47-41 with 30 seconds left to play.

Hines quickly hit back-to-back buckets to trim the six-point Islander lead to just two points, 47-45 with five seconds left to play late in the fourth quarter.

JFK's Kurtis Silva goes up and tries to make a difficult shot but was fouled in the attempt. (photo by Joey Blas)

JFK’s Kurtis Silva goes up and tries to make a difficult shot but was fouled in the attempt. (photo by Joey Blas)

The Islanders inbounded the ball to young swingman Billy Belger, who was instantly fouled and stepped up to the free throw line to sink both free throws with the Panther crowd screaming for a miss.

“I wasn’t nervous at all. I was calm and relaxed,” said Belger on the final free throws.

Both shots hit nothing but the bottom of the net.

Guam High got off to a blazing start and built a double digit lead, 13-2, in the first quarter. Islanders guard Aljurrell Grape came off the bench and provided a spark along with Silva, who knocked in back-to-back three pointers to give the Islanders a short run late in the quarter to cut the lead 17-11.

The Islanders regrouped on defense and held the Panthers scoreless in the first seven minutes of the second quarter. The Islanders managed to grab their first lead of the game off a layup from Geno Perez, 18-17.

“[Guam High] got off to a good start. As far as our offense was concerned, we seemed to be forcing the issue. I told my boys to settle down and our defense picked up in the second quarter. Things then started to settle down and we began taking good shots,” said coach Serafico on getting his guys to play strong after the slow start.

Hines got the Panthers out of their cold spell with an and-one play and helped the Panthers regain the lead going into halftime 21-18.

The third quarter presented a faster pace from both teams with Silva and Belger providing a big lift to give the Islanders their largest lead of the game at six, 32-26. The Panthers roared back off a bucket from Hines and three-pointer from L.J. Aguon to close out the quarter on a 7-2 run to pull within one, 34-33.

The Panthers recaptured the lead early in the fourth off a fast break layup from Eddie Garza. Hines would work his way to the bucket on the following possession to extend the game 39-36 with the Guam High crowd erupting.

The Islanders closed out the game on the impressive run and Belger’s free throws snapped the bottom of the net along with the Panthers five-game undefeated streak.

The Islanders only loss was by two points agains the Okkodo Bulldogs earlier in the season. Coach Serafico has the boys clicking and chemistry appears to be their key component.

“We play with good chemistry all the time. We pause a little when things aren’t going our way, but for the most part our chemistry brings out the best in us,” said Silva.

Other Scores

FD 49, Harvest 47 – The winless Harvest Eagles nearly defeated the FD Friars with just four players on the court. The Eagles were trailing 46-36 with four minutes left in the game before one of their players fell to a cramp. With their other players being fouled out, the Eagles were forced to play with a four-man roster which tied the game at 47 with 30 seconds left to play. Friars Nic Aglubat sank the game winner as time expired to survive the big upset. Aglubat led the Friars with eight points while Eagles’ Jordan Javellana finished with 13 points.

St. Paul 58, Southern 53 – (SPC) Jason Aquino 26 pts. (SHS) Chaz Nanguata 14 pts.

ND 51, St. John’s 47

Okkodo 65, GW 56

PHOTO GALLERY:

Guam High Panthers' LJ Aguon dribbles down the sideline and makes the bucket. (photo by Joey Blas)

Guam High Panthers’ LJ Aguon dribbles down the sideline and makes the bucket. (photo by Joey Blas)

JFK's Aljurrell Grape gets the loose ball and dribbles down court. (photo by Joey Blas)

JFK’s Aljurrell Grape gets the loose ball and dribbles down court. (photo by Joey Blas)

JFK's Gino Perez pulls up and drills the jumper. (photo by Joey Blas)

JFK’s Gino Perez pulls up and drills the jumper. (photo by Joey Blas)

Guam High's LJ Aguon goes up and makes the jumper while being well defended by JFK's Gino Perez. (photo by Joey Blas)

Guam High’s LJ Aguon goes up and makes the jumper while being well defended by JFK’s Gino Perez. (photo by Joey Blas)

Guam High's Austy Hines receives a pass in the paint and lays it in for 2 points. (photo by Joey Blas)

Guam High’s Austy Hines receives a pass in the paint and lays it in for 2 points. (photo by Joey Blas)

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