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WARRIORS ARE CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS

St. Paul downs Sanchez to earn top team on the island

By Patrick Lujan

The St. Paul Warriors hit the big shots when they most needed to as they laid claim as the best high school girls basketball team on island, beating the Sanchez Sharks 47-38 Saturday night in the GSPN Champion of Champions game.

With not a single 12th grader on the team, St. Paul’s young and dynamic squad had big runs early and late to take down the Sharks, who missed on several opportunities throughout the game at the FD Phoenix Center.

Junior point guard Ryanna Ngirchomlei was steady throughout, even fixing her hair while running her team’s half court offense on her way to a game-high 18 points and big time shots.

“It feels good (to win this),” Ngirchomlei said. “But we didn’t play as well as we expected to. We started off a little slow, but it’s how you finish.”

Emotions at the Phoenix Center after the Warriors become Champion of Champions. (photo by Matt Lorenzo)

St. Paul actually jumped out to a 7-1 lead to start the night off, eventually taking a 16-7 lead after the first quarter thanks to Gabby Hahn’s eight of her 14 points.

The Warriors took their largest lead of the game at 24-14 as Ngirchomlei scored eight straight (two 3’s from the same left corner and a beautiful crossover layup).

The Sharks, however, would not go down without a fight as they slowly bit off the big lead. Britney Gatmay scored all seven of her points in the third quarter that brought the big Sanchez crowd into euphoria. The crowd went nuts when Kayna Kanemoto’s short jumper gave the Sharks its first lead of the game 30-29.

The was short-lived as Ngirchomlei calmly drained a rainbow 3-pointer to snatch the lead back for good right at the end of the third quarter.

“It was open so I just shot it. You never know until you shoot it.”

– Ryanna Ngirchomlei on her big 3 to take back the lead

Ball control and crucial shots in the fourth quarter proved to be the key to the Warriors victory as buckets by Hahn, Kimora Charfauros and Ngirchomlei upped the lead while the Sanchez offense struggled to drop in some easy baskets.

Senior Kayna Kanemoto led the Sharks with 17 points. She and fellow senior Ronnie Dela Cruz both fouled out on what was their last game on island as Sharks.

Warriors offspring

St. Paul returns their entire team next year for another run. Three of their starting five players have some athletic genes in them. Center Bella Brub is the daughter of former MMA fighter and football player Chris Brub, Kimora Charfauros got her basketball skills from her dad Kin Charfauros and Gabby Hahn has her father Brian Hahn to thank from his football and basketball days. All three players are just sophomores.

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COMING SOON …

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QUICK HITS

Shawn Bamba won the Arizona state wrestling championship while siblings Jussiah and Justyn took third place in their divisions at state.
Shawn (12th) won the 150-lb division while Jussiah (11th) took bronze in the 120-lb class and Justyn (9th) took bronze in the 106-lb category.
All three were born on Guam before moving to Surprise, Arizona in 2014, where they all picked up wrestling in 2016.
Their parents are Justin and Shannon Bamba from Pago Bay.
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Christian Delos Santos, son of Richard Delos Santos (Barrigada) and Norma Larimer Delos Santos (Dededo), won the Kentucky High School Athletic Association wrestling state championship in the 113-lb weight class.
His sister Naiya took 3rd place in the 100-lb girls division.

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