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RAPADAS LEADS WILD COUGAR COMEBACK

Top-ranked Academy closes regular season in fashion

By Jay Leon Guerrero

Vic”Torie”ious!

Torie Rapadas led a wild comeback to help the Academy Cougars clinch the top seed in the IIAAG Girls High School Basketball League. Rapadas’ late game heroics helped the Cougars escape with a narrow 49-48 victory over the St. John’s Knights in the final game of the season.

Down by 10 points, the Cougars finished the game on an 11-0 run with Rapadas scoring nine points, including an and-1 basket, to clinch the home victory. With 30 seconds left, Rapadas stole an errant pass and went coast-to-coast, making the bucket and the free throw to give Academy the one point victory.  

The final IIAAG standings are now decided with the Cougars improving to 9-1, the St. Paul Warriors are second at 8-2, and the Knights are third at 7-3.

Fouled Out
The Knights were in total control of the contest to start the final period until two key players fouled out of the game. First to foul out was guard Ella Wigsten with five minutes remaining, forward Jia Peters fouled out with three minutes left and the Cougars smelled blood with the Knights’ top ball handler and scorer out of the game.

“We saw an opportunity to get back in the game, and we did our best to try and take it,” said Rapadas. For three and a half quarters, the Cougars struggled from the field and the free throw line but a late run propelled them to victory.

Rapadas said that her team would grow from the victory heading into the playoffs: “We really need to turn it on from the start. As soon as we set foot on the court, we need to give it our all. “

The Knights led 14-7 after the first quarter, with Peters scoring 10 points. Wigsten scored seven points in the second quarter to help St John’s maintain a 27-20 lead by halftime.

Offensive rebounds gave the Knights’ second chance opportunities, and their lead went up to 10 points in the final period with Amara Del Carmen grabbing boards and Serenity Johnson making jump shots.

With a thin bench, Peters and Wigsten had to play extended minutes. Both entered the final quarter with four fouls, and both were whistled for their fifth foul playing hard defense.

With two key players out, confidence grew for Academy. Madeleine Ada and Maria-Jean Paulino from Academy helped force steals down the stretch, which paved the way for Rapadas on offense.

“The game plan was to pressure them and force turnovers,” said Ada. Ada had a game-high 21 points and also had seven rebounds and five steals before also fouling out late in the game. 

“Moving forward, we need to keep the intensity up to start the game. We missed a lot of easy (open) shots tonight. We need to make the easy ones.”

– Cougars guard Madeleine Ada

Paulino had eight points, six rebounds, and five steals for the Cougars. Rapadas had 16 points and went 5-5 from the free throw line in the final period.

Peters and Del Carmen had a double-doubles for the Knights. Peters had 18 points and 12 rebounds, Del Carmen had 11 points and 11 rebounds. Wigsten contributed nine points and four assists, Johnson scored eight points for the Knights.

The playoff schedule will be sent pending on the placement of the rest of league which includes the Guam High Panthers, Notre Dame Royals and Harvest Eagles. The first round of playoffs will be posted on the GSPN website this weekend.

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COMING SOON …

Guam Track & Field National Championship May 26

All-Island Wrestling Alumni Tournament June 8

10th Micronesian Games from Marjuro

QUICK HITS

Bailey Concepcion makes it to the Seattle Seahawks dance team for the 2nd straight year.

Congratulations @seadancer_bailey
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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.

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