North Vista's Lydia wins showdown of No. 7s
Lydia and Patricia steal the show in North Zone girls' B Division basketball final
In what was a rematch of last year's North Zone girls' B Division basketball final, North Vista Secondary School exacted revenge on Singapore Chinese Girls' School (SCGS) with a narrow 54-52 victory yesterday.
It turned out to be a face-off between the No. 7s at the Republic Polytechnic's Sports Complex, where a vociferous 400-odd crowd witnessed North Vista's Lydia Ang and SCGS' Patricia Orenza put in superb individual performances that kept them on the edge of their seats.
Lydia, 16, scored 29 points - more than half of her team's points tally - and in the process, halted SCGS' run of back-to-back North Zone titles, including last year's when they trounced North Vista 58-21 in the final.
The solid display by Lydia, a national Under-16 player, surprised even North Vista coach Sim Chee Siong.
He said: "Usually (in a game), she has her good and bad moments but, today, she was consistent and played exceptionally well."
On top of getting rebounds and blocking shots, the 1.73m-tall centre also showed her handling and playmaking skills, tormenting her opponents with well-timed drives to the basket.
Added Sim: "We meet SCGS almost every year. This batch isn't their strongest, and they are relying on a few key players.
"On the other hand, I have a strong team this year with two Secondary 5 students."
Patricia, though, made sure that her team did not go down without a fight, scoring 27 points to nearly land SCGS a hat-trick of consecutive titles.
Usually (in a game), she has her good and bad moments but, today, she was consistent and played exceptionally well.North Vista coach Sim Chee Siong on Lydia Ang
She almost single-handedly guided them to a 27-23 half-time lead, but North Vista fought back strongly, and held a 36-35 advantage at the end of the third quarter.
The 16-year-old point guard had a chance to level the score with a minute of the match remaining, when she was awarded two free-throws with North Vista leading 53-51.
However, she scored just one, leaving North Vista captain Yuki Kung to seal the win 30 seconds later with a successful free-throw.
Patricia, however, was gracious in defeat, and even praised her opponent Lydia.
She said: "It wasn't an easy game for both SCGS or North Vista. We'll just come back stronger.
"We can't change what happened during the game, but all we've got to do is look ahead and train for the Nationals.
"Lydia's tall and that's a big advantage, and she's also skilful and has the right footwork.
"She can convert the ball and she's strong."
SCGS coach Chiew Poh Leng was proud to see her team match the opponents all the way.
She said: "Patricia's performance was great today, she played her best with lots of fighting spirit.
"I think we played a great game today. If you compare our teams on paper, we're a weaker team.
"My girls don't play basketball outside of their training three times a week.
"Everyone before the game thought we're a lousier team, they thought we'd lose by 10 to 20 points, but look how it turned out. I have great hopes for the Nationals."
In the North Zone boys' B Division final yesterday, Presbyterian High School beat Woodgrove Secondary School 71-53.