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GECKOS OVERCOME TOUGH DOLPHINS

With tensions and energy filling the loud, and freezing, Southern High Gym, it was the GW Geckos who were able to fend off a valiant effort from the Southern High Dolphins on Saturday night.

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By John Baza

With tensions and energy filling the loud – and freezing – Southern High Gym, it was the GW Geckos who were able to fend off a valiant effort from the Southern High Dolphins on Saturday night.

Southern had recently had to forfeit their game against the FD Friars which wiped away their unbeaten record. The Geckos became the first team to actually beat the Dolphins in 2015.

With the Geckos holding a narrow 75-69 lead with 28.6 ticks left on the board, it was GW’s starting center Devin San Agustin who was able to ice the game going 4-for-4 from the charity stripe in the closing seconds to hold on to a 77-72 win against a tough Dolphins squad.

“I needed to step up big on defense as the players on the other team were hitting their shots, hats off to them. Motivation in that final quarter came from my teammates who motivated me to push harder”, described San Agustin on his clutch performance offensively and defensively.

Diollo Cruz of Southern manages to drain a three pointer through the swarming Geckos.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Diallo Cruz of Southern manages to drain a three pointer through the swarming Geckos. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Clinging to a slim 58-57 lead going into the fourth, it was the duo of brothers, Nathaniel and Lester Gaitan who drew first blood for the visiting Geckos in the final quarter with back to back buckets. Shortly after, Southern’s explosive point guard, Diallo Cruz, answered back with a tough floater down the key (62-59) with 5:30 left in the game.

With both teams trading baskets midway through the final quarter, GW’s Jacob Frias let a three-ball fly from the corner, which found the bottom of the net, shifting the momentum of the game in favor of the Geckos (67-64). Matthew Soto would then follow with a strong layup after the ensuing play.

With a tough Dolphins team looking to defend their home court, they did not give up easily as timely buckets from Southern’s Cruz and Michael Borja kept them within striking distance. But GW’s San Agustin denied the home team of an easy comeback as he cut down the lane for four points on back-to-back plays.

Highlights for the Dolphins came from post player Christian Lopez who used his strength and ball handling to get clutch baskets as well an “and-1” bucket just under the 1-minute mark, which sent the Dolphins’ home crowd into a frenzy as they trailed just by four (73-69). This tenacious effort by the Dolphins came up short as San Agustin hit all his freethrows in the final minute to seal the win.

Nathaniel Gaitan of GW makes a layup after a fast break away early in the first quarter.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Nathaniel Gaitan of GW makes a layup after a fast break away early in the first quarter. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

The game was close from start to finish as both teams hit the ground running, setting the fast paced tempo that would go on for the remainder of the bout. GW’s Soto and Jacob Frias came out firing in the opening quarter hitting shots from beyond the arc and in the paint. Southern’s Cruz, Lopez and Phil Jardaleza had an answer as they led their team on a 14-7 run to tie the game at the end of the first quarter.

The Dolphins’ Diallo Cruz came out scorching in the second quarter, hitting an array of shots from all spots on the floor as he matched baskets from the Geckos. His effort gave southern the 37-34 lead heading into the second half.

Southern’s Ryan Teologo kept the momentum going in the second half, scoring his teams first six points. Things took a turn as GW’s Soto and San Agustin produced productive numbers offensively and defensively with key blocks.

Cruz lead all scorers with 28 points in the closely contested game. Southern’s Lopez, Teologo and Jardaleza each had 16, 11 and 10 points respectively. The Geckos were led by San Agustin with 23 and Soto who had 22, while Frias added 11 points. GW improves to 4-1, while the Dolphins drop to 2-2.

Other Scores

JFK 60, St. Paul 51 (JFK: Wayne Jesus 15 pts, Chris Conner 13 pts, Billy Belger 11 pts)
Guam High 41, Tiyan 25

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PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

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Christian Lopez of Southern charges through the lane for a quick layup.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Christian Lopez of Southern charges through the lane for a quick layup. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Ryan Tedogo of Southern leans back for a fade away jumper.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Ryan Teologo of Southern leans back for a fade away jumper. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Devin SanAgustin gets in the way to block a layup attempt from Nelson Ortega.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Devin SanAgustin gets in the way to block a layup attempt from Nelson Ortega. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Ryan Tedogo of Southern drives through Geckos for a layup.  (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

Ryan Teologo of Southern drives through Geckos for a layup. (photo by Kyle Twardowski)

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