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PANTHERS ADVANCE TO QUARTERFINALS

The Guam High Panthers defeated the Tiyan Titans in the IIAAG girls basketball playoffs opening rounds in crunch time to advance to the quarterfinals Friday night.

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By Jay Leon Guerrero

The IIAAG girls basketball playoffs arrived Wednesday night and the first upset of the playoffs happened in the first round between the 5th-seed Guam High Panthers and the 4th-seed Tiyan Titans. The Panthers used experience in the final 90 seconds and took down the Titans for the 41-33 win to advance to playoffs, denying the Titans their first playoff victory in the schools young history.

The Panthers executed to finish the game, making plays on defense and hitting shots down the stretch to deny the Titans Wednesday night at the GW gym. Kelsey Brayboy was clutch in the final period for the Panthers, scoring six points in the final moments of the game to help her team advance.

“Coach told us if we wanted it, we needed to play hard. I missed my first couple of lay-ins (earlier in game) so my confidence wasn’t that high going into the final moments of the game,” said Brayboy.

Brayboy said she wasn’t playing well in her previous games and wanted to play better. She picked the right time to play better, coming up clutch with three baskets in the final 90 seconds of the game to secure the win.

1st half

The Titans looked like they were in unfamiliar territory to start the game knowing it was an elimination game.

It was a win or go home type atmospheres, something the young Titans were not accustomed too. The Titans looked out of their element, missing their first 10 shots (8 from the field and 2 from the free throw line) and scored only two points in the opening period.

The Panthers took advantage with guard Harmony Yatar scoring the first four points of the game followed by a bucket from Brayboy to put the Panthers up 6-0.

The Titans slowly found their comfort zone and relied on plays drawn up by interim coach Lawrence Luces to start a rally in the second quarter. Tash Borja set up a cutting teammate Jaeda James for the easy lay-in to tie the contest 8-8.

Titan point guard Y’lisiah-Rae Jorda put the Titans up 16-12 moments later with back-to-back teardrop floaters to get the Titan faithful cheering.

Wendy's Players of the Game, Aubrey Taimanglo, Britany Bailey, and Harmony Yatar of the Guam High Panthers.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

Wendy’s Players of the Game, Aubrey Taimanglo, Britany Bailey, and Harmony Yatar of the Guam High Panthers. (photo by Daniel Paran)

The Panthers put a stop to the Titan run going inside to sophomore center Britney Bailey to eventually go up 20-16 by halftime. Bailey made aggressive scoring moves in the post to establish the lead by halftime.

The game was a seesaw battle until 1:30 left in regulation. The Panthers were trailing 33-32 and had possession with Yatar driving to the basket and getting fouled sending her to the charity stripe. Yatar calmly sank both free throws giving her team a slim advantage.

The Panther pressure defense forced a turnover and Bailey cashed in with a wide open lay-in to go up 35-32. The Panthers continued to play solid defense during crunch time and recorded another steal from point guard Aubrey Taimanglo. Taimanglo quickly dribbled the ball up court and found Brayboy open for another lay-in to go up 37-32 with less than a minute remaining.

The Titans needed a quick score and got an open look, but a three-point attempt by James was off the mark. Bailey rebounded and found Taimanglo on the outlet pass. Taimanglo controlled the offense and found Brayboy again for another score to seal the victory.

Taimanglo, the only senior on the team, said she was proud of her team’s execution to end the game.

“We weren’t playing well in the second and third quarters. I’m proud of my team, we were really determined to win tonight,” said Taimanglo.

Taimanglo applauded the efforts of the younger Titan squad. The Titan defense marauded Taimanglo during their press and forced turnovers. “Tiyan plays really good defense, they will be a better team next year”.

Taimanglo made two 3-pointers and finished with 8 points, she also dished out a game high 5 assists. Bailey had 11 points and 12 rebounds, Yatar had a game high 12 points and 7 steals.Jorda had 8 points and 3 steals; James had 7 points, 7 rebounds and 8 steals for the Titans. The Panthers visit the undefeated Academy Cougars on Saturday at 6pm at the Cougars’ home court.

Other Scores

Southern 56, Sanchez 25
JFK 41, Harvest 28

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

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Jaeda James denies Harmony Yatar of her layup attempt.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

Jaeda James denies Harmony Yatar of her layup attempt. (photo by Daniel Paran)

Y'lisiah-Rae Jorda banks a shot over Aubrey Taimanglo for the Titans.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

Y’lisiah-Rae Jorda banks a shot over Aubrey Taimanglo for the Titans. (photo by Daniel Paran)

Harmony Yatar drives the ball through Titans' defense with little trouble.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

Harmony Yatar drives the ball through Titans’ defense with little trouble. (photo by Daniel Paran)

Britany Bailey trips up one of the Titans to put up a free shot.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

Britany Bailey trips up one of the Titans to put up a free shot. (photo by Daniel Paran)

Aubrey Taimanglo keeps her eyes on Titans' Tash Borja, anticipating her next move.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

Aubrey Taimanglo keeps her eyes on Titans’ Tash Borja, anticipating her next move. (photo by Daniel Paran)

Alexia Brown finds a huge opening and scores an easy layup for two.  (photo by Daniel Paran)

Alexia Brown finds a huge opening and scores an easy layup for two. (photo by Daniel Paran)

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