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ACADEMY FINISHES OFF BEST OF 2022

National championship is icing on the cake for the Cougars

By Jay Leon Guerrero

The Academy Cougars held off the JFK Islanders 43-34 to claim the 2022 GBC Varsity Girls Basketball Championship Saturday afternoon. Mia Taitano played her last high school game and left it all on the court with 14 points, seven rebounds, six assists and two steals. 

“It feels great to cap off my high school career with a championship and I’m also glad to accomplish it with these group of girls,” said Taitano. “I’ve been with most of these teammates for the last seven years and it feels good for us to win it all here.”

Wendy’s Player of the Game: Mia Taitano

The contest was back-and-forth for the first three quarters with the game changing leads several times. Cassandra Kido from JFK scored eight points in the second quarter but the Cougars managed to maintain a 23-20 advantage at halftime. 

The Islander defense stepped up their game in the third quarter and held the Cougars to just four points. Hannah Gogue, Jada Han and Laila Smartt scored on offense for JFK as they went ahead 28-27 after three quarters. Han was the playmaker for JFK, grabbing rebounds and dishing out assists to her teammates to grab momentum in the third. 

Sevilla for 3!

In the fourth and decisive quarter, Taitano controlled the tempo of the game and found Oriana Sevilla twice for two huge 3-pointers to go up 41-34, which was the largest lead of the game at that point. Coco Paulino and Myka Jo Terlaje adjusted their defense to force turnovers to help maintain the Academy lead with under three minutes remaining. 

“Going into the fourth quarter, coach (Jimmy Yi) told us that there is a lot of game left and we need to dig deep and keep pushing.” – Coco Paulino

Paulino had two steals in the final quarter to prevent JFK from getting into any offensive rhythm.

“Everyone on the court can hit a three, everyone is a threat,” said Taitano. “Those two 3-pointers Orianna (Sevilla) hit were shots she hits all the time so after I passed it to her, I knew she’d knock those down”.

Taitano iced the game at the free throw line and the Cougars managed to escape a couple of Islander 3-point shots that went in-and-out to win the game 43-34. Chants from the pro-Islander crowd shouted “over-rated” as Taitano shot her free throws in the first half. “I used that as motivation to continue to prove myself and show what I can do,” said Taitano.

Han had a big game for JFK with eight points, a game-high 14 rebounds and five assists. Kido led the Islanders on offense scoring 12 points. 

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COMING SOON …

4th Quarter Post Season

Boys Volleyball Champion v Champion on May 19

QUICK HITS

The St. Paul Warriors are the 2024 IIAAG Boys Middle School Basketball League Champions! The Warriors defeated the 2nd seed Andersen Dragons 60-47 to cap off their undefeated season.
Mario Bork led the Warriors with 20 points in the championship game.
—————————————–
Sad News: Guam’s basketball community received word that long-time coach Gerrard ‘Gerry’ Barnes succumbed to cancer and passed away on May 7. 
Coach Barnes led the heralded Andersen Bombers from the 1980’s until recent years.
He also coached the Guam national team and at Simon Sanchez.
Coach Barnes was 73.

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