Jurong brush off shaky start in West Zone B Division basketball
They were ruthless in their previous two games, but were slow out of the blocks yesterday, allowing their less illustrious opponents to end the first quarter level on points.
The second quarter was not much better either, as Jurong Secondary School committed a slew of defensive errors to go into half-time only a point ahead of the School of Science and Technology (SST).
But Jurong captain Chua Qi Wei rallied his teammates and they produced a vastly-improved second-half performance to win 46-26 at the Clementi Sports Hall.
Speaking to The New Paper after the game, Chua said the reigning West Zone B Division basketball champions felt the nerves during the opening exchanges.
LEADING BY EXAMPLE: Jurong captain Chua Qi Wei (No. 4) impresses during his team's win yesterday. - TNP PHOTO: GAVIN FOO
"We started rather shakily; we made a lot of silly mistakes and, basically, our defence was very bad," the 16-year-old said.
"In the second quarter, we started to wake up and we started to lock down their key players. With defence, our offence will grow."
Chua's composure at the back was key to his side's rejuvenated defence, with the Secondary 4 student pulling off some important steals to restrict SST to only a point in the third quarter.
Jurong teacher-in-charge for basketball Woon Ta Chuang felt academic commitments contributed to his side's slow start.
"We played very nervously, not like our usual selves," he said.
"I guess it was also partly because the boys have to prepare for their common tests these two weeks. They have been studying late into the night and that probably affected their sleep and concentration.
"But, thank God, we were able to wake up just in time for the last quarter."
Woon remained coy about his side's title chances.
He said: "We certainly hope to repeat the success that we had last year, so we will work hard towards it."
Jurong face Unity Secondary School on Monday, with the top two in the six-team group progressing to the semi-finals.
The zone final will be played on March 8 at Jurong East Sports Hall.