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CASTRO NETS 45 IN SEMIFINALS WIN

Destiny Castro led the way for the Notre Dame Royals scoring an IIAAG season high 45 points to help her team dethrone the defending two-time champion Southern High Dolphins 69-58 Tuesday night in front of a packed gym in Talofofo, ‘God’s Country’.

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By Jay Leon Guerrero

Destiny Castro led the way for the Notre Dame Royals scoring a IIAAG season high 45 points to help her team dethrone the defending two-time champion Southern High Dolphins 69-58 Tuesday night in front of a packed gym in Talofofo, ‘God’s Country’.

The playoff semi-final win sets up a showdown against the undefeated Academy Cougars scheduled for Friday evening tentatively at the Southern High gym. The Dolphins came into ND’s gym and played hard for all 48 minutes, but were unable to counter the offensive explosion by Castro.

IIAAG first team all-islander Marlisah Tenorio had a monster game for the Dolphins with 23 points and 24 rebounds. The Royals were unable to keep Tenorio from grabbing offensive rebounds which kept the Dolphins within striking distance.

“First of all, I want to congratulate the Dolphins for a wonderful season. It’s a humbling experience to dethrone the two-time champions. One thing you can always expect from a team led by coach (Kevin) Sanchez is that they will play with a lot of heart and hard play which is what they brought tonight,” said ND coach Dominic Sablan.

The Dolphins played till the final buzzer and managed to force 14 Royal turnovers in the final period alone. “Southern is known for playing their hearts whether they are winning or losing. Their whole squad never stopped playing, from their starters to their bench, and that what’s make them a great team,” said Castro.

However, the Royals were just too much to handle in the third quarter. The host team shot over 55% in the period, making shots from downtown and reverse lay-ins from Castro that had the Royal crowd off their seats.

The Royals led 29-23 at halftime, pulling ahead by 19 points in the third quarter. Caley Chargualaf made a pair of 3-pointers for the Royals during a huge run in the third quarter to seize momentum. With Tenorio forced to sit after picking up her third foul, Castro led the Royals during their third quarter burst after she dished out a pair of assists and made two lay-ins from steals to pull ahead 57-38 after three periods of play.

The Dolphins opened up the 4th period with a bucket by Kimberly Malalis and a three-pointer by Savanna San Nicolas to force Sablan to call a timeout to calm his players down. Turnovers plagued the Royals in the 4th quarter which caused the ND crowd to grow a little nervous.

But Castro halted the comeback immediately after the timeout with an acrobatic “and-one” lay-in to push the lead to 14 points. Tenorio traded baskets with Castro and Dolphin freshman Clowe Manatanona converted a pair of free throws to cut the Royal lead to a dozen points.

Destiny Castro controlled the game from beginning to end erupting for 45 points. (photo by Joey Blas)

Destiny Castro controlled the game from beginning to end erupting for 45 points. (photo by Joey Blas)

The Dolphins continued to trade baskets with the Royals despite getting key steals down the stretch. Castro and Janelle Borja made all their free throws in the final minute to stamp their ticket to the championship game.

The Royals will meet the undefeated Academy Cougars in a showdown between good friends Kali Benavente (IIAAG MVP) from Academy and Castro. The Royals got blown out in their first meeting against the Cougars and lost a close game in their second meeting, a game in which they led for the first three quarters. Castro said the Royals are playing much better as the season progressed and they will need to play a flawless game against the mighty Cougars.

“We are going to have to come out harder than we did before and to play with all our hearts,” said Castro.

Castro has the experience this school year of being in a championship atmosphere. Castro and a few of her teammates also played in the IIAAG volleyball championship game against the GW Geckos, a game that Castro felt wasn’t their best performance.

“In the championship volleyball game, I over prepped myself mentally for the game and I came out bad. For this game, I’m not going to overly prep myself and just play as if it was another game,” said Castro said of going into her final high school career game.

Castro had 16 rebounds and 7 steals, making 11-of-12 free throws to go along with her 45 points. Brianne Leon Guerrero had 12 points and 5 steals for the Royals. San Nicolas had 9 points and 4 rebounds, Nadine Calceta scored 8 points for the Dolphins who will face the St. Paul Warriors in the consolation game on Friday.

Other Game

Academy 46, St. Paul 34

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

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Dolphins Marlisah Tenorio goes up against ND Destiny Castro to tip off the semifinals. (photo by Joey Blas)

Dolphins Marlisah Tenorio goes up against ND Destiny Castro to tip off the semifinals. (photo by Joey Blas)

Southern's Kim Malalis applies the defensive pressure on ND's Janelle Borja. (photo by Joey Blas)

Southern’s Kim Malalis applies the defensive pressure on ND’s Janelle Borja. (photo by Joey Blas)

Dolphins freshman Clowe Mantanona sinks her first of two free throws. (photo by Joey Blas)

Dolphins freshman Clowe Mantanona sinks her first of two free throws. (photo by Joey Blas)

Southern's Kimberly Malalis dribbles down court against ND. (photo by Joey Blas)

Southern’s Kimberly Malalis dribbles down court against ND. (photo by Joey Blas)

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