Despite their unceremonious exit from playoffs contention following the loss to Home United Basketball Club the previous week, Team JUMPSHOT was not about to take the last game of the season lightly, as they prepared to face National JC Alumni to determine their final record for this season of the Women’s National Basketball Championship.
The NJC Alumni, however, were just as determined to end their season with a victory, and as the game started, JUMPSHOT’s superior placing in the group was thrown out of the window as their opponents gave it their best shot. NJC simply made shot after shot as JUMPSHOT struggled in the early going. Even substituting the entire squad on the floor did not help as Team JUMPSHOT could only claw out a meagre 18-12 first quarter lead. More sloppy play in the second period did not help their cause either, as NJC capitalised on their mistakes to keep the game within reach. Point guard Tan Jie Qi, in particular, led by example as she broke down JUMPSHOT’s defense and dished the ball to her teammates for easy baskets. At the half, holding a lead of merely four points, a flustered and frustrated team huddled together before Coach Esther, as they discussed how to keep their opponents at bay.
Things did not appear to get much better after the intermission, however, as the girls cut down on their mistakes but were still unable to convert many of their chances. The game appeared to get even tougher as talismanic floor leader Fong Hai Xin went down with an injury and had to leave the game. Team JUMPSHOT hung in there however, as they stretched the lead to nine points at the end of the third quarter. In the final period, Team JUMPSHOT finally came to life as NJC Alumni started to commit mistakes of their own, showing signs of fatigue. The girls pounced on their opponents’ mistakes and punish their turnovers with fast break after fast break, as they started to build a commanding lead on the game. In the end, they had a 79-52 victory to show for their efforts, as they managed to close out the season with a good win.
AlthoughTeam JUMPSHOT did not attain their goal of reaching the post-season, Coach Esther stated that this season has allowed them to see their own flaws more clearly, and that they will work on their weaknesses in preparation for next season. The team will also be taking part in the Jammers league in order to work on their team play. Although the journey will be tough, Coach Esther promises an improved team and a very exciting season ahead!