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ISLANDERS, SHARKS TO BATTLE FOR TOP SPOT

JFK and Sanchez to meet once again for ISA supremacy

By Jay Leon Guerrero

The rematch is set! The JFK Islanders and the Sanchez Sharks will go at it again in the ISA Girls High School Basketball Championship game.

On a Wednesday night double header at the JFK gymnasium, the Islanders held off the Southern Dolphins 40-30 in the early game. The Sharks took the court next and defeated the Okkodo Bulldogs 51-27.

The championship game is scheduled for Friday night at the Tiyan gym at 7:30 pm. The consolation game between the Bulldogs and Dolphins will take place at 5:30 pm.

JFK vs. Southern
The top seed Islanders advance despite great play from Southern’s Lana Quinata. Quinata, a freshman, scored a game high 13 points and kept the fourth-seeded Dolphins within comeback distance until the final two minutes of the game.

“She (Quinata) is a really good player. We played man-defense, and my teammate Gabby (Gogue) had to face guard her to deny her from getting the ball,” said Han.

JFK’s man-defense contained the Dolphins in the final period to hang on for the win. Franchesca Aguilar scored baskets in crucial moments to lead the Islander offense with 11 points and three assists.

Cassandra Kido and Han anchored the Islander backcourt with three steals apiece. On offense, Kido and Han combined for 20 points.

“I’m proud of my team and how far we’ve come,” said Kido. “Coming into the game tonight, we knew Southern was going to be a tough team. Coach (Martin) told us to stay calm and be ready,” added Kido.

“We’ve been to the championship game for the last two seasons. Our strategy going into the game is to just play our game – play Islander basketball,” said Han.

Keviann Susuico had 9 points, 11 rebounds, and 2 blocks for the Dolphins.

The Islanders will be looking to start a dynasty, going for their third straight championship under head coach Merwin Martin.

Sharks vs. Bulldogs
Coming into their 2 vs. 3 seed matchup,  Okkodo and Sanchez entered the game with identical 7-3 records. During the regular season, both games were close, with each team getting a close victory.

The stands were packed with the anticipation of another nail-biter game. The Sharks led 38-27 after three quarters and held the Bulldogs scoreless in the final period to stamp their ticket to the championship game.

Kayna Kanemoto and Ronnie Dela Cruz seemed unstoppable in the paint, scoring at will against Bulldog defenders. Kanemoto had a double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Sharks. Dela Cruz had 12 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists.

The Sharks stuck to the game plan and executed down the stretch as both coaches emptied their bench in the final minutes of the game.

“Our plan was to contain their inside duo of Sharma Taiuwei and Hanna Meinik and force them to beat us from the outside,” said head coach Arvin Domingo.

Taiuwei and Meinik attracted multiple defenders, forcing the Bulldogs to take three-pointers. The strategy worked for the Sharks with the Bulldogs going 3-18 from three-point land.

Despite all the attention, Meinik still managed to go 6-9 from the field for 12 points and 6 rebounds.

The Bulldogs had 26 turnovers for the game with the Sharks swarming defense. The Shark front court controlled the boards, winning that category 27-20.

The Sharks and Islanders also split their regular season matchups. Can the Islanders 3-peat or will the Sharks finish 2023 with a volleyball and basketball championship? All questions will be answered this Friday. 

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