While all of the island's students are hitting the textbooks, summer basketball is finally hitting playoffs and championships in the 2019 Guam Youth Basketball Association Drug-Free Summer League.
In the 15U division, the Crusaders Maroon defeated sister team Crusaders Black, 22-12, behind 11 points from freshman Alura Hernandez. Eighth grader Golopin Choay and freshman Laila Smartt had 4 points apiece in the loss and settled for second place.
For the Crusader team, this makes their second summer championship in the same age division. Coached by Devin Leones, the Crusaders – some of whom played on both teams in both leagues – made a strong showing and offered a glimpse into the future of girls high school basketball.
"It was a great summer of basketball," Leones said.
For Leones, losing their first game of the summer was the wake-up call they needed.
"The girls stuck together and worked hard since then to win each game after," he said. "They did all the little things right and wanted to get (their second title) just as bad I did ... I'm proud of them."
It's been a long summer, said Crusader coordinator Jon Lujan, who has several teams vying for championships in all the divisions still left to play.
Despite the hours spent in the gym, managing 170-plus athletes, 14 teams in two leagues and all age divisions, he said it's worth the effort.
"This provides an avenue to keep the players busy over the summer," Lujan said. "I'm always looking to try and advance our youth and promote the game. ... It's rewarding to watch the growth."
Like several other clubs, Lujan pushes his older athletes to mentor and coach the younger age groups.
"Having the players coach helps fast-track their leadership and responsibilities," he said. "It also helps the players see the game from another perspective – teaches situational thinking."
• Yellow Jackets Blue 44, DYJ Yellow 17: Amaiya Fontanilla powered the Blue team with 13 points for third place overall, while the Yellow's Kirsten Franco had 5 in the loss.
• Yellow Jackets Blue 48, Crusaders 12: The Blue's Sirron Chambers poured in 17 points, and Crusaders' Hosea Gogue had 3 in the loss.
• Wolves Blue 16, Mavericks Blue 9: The Wolves' Kaisayuh Flores added 8 points to give his team a ticket to the ship. Mavericks' Tomas Duenas had 7 in the loss.
• Mavericks 26, Wolves Blue 11: Zacharia Calvo had 10 points to power a trip to the ship, while Jude Matanane paced the Wolves with 7 in the loss.
• DYJ White 13, Crusaders Chrome 6: Keoni Pocaigue and Arlan Devera led the Dededo team with 4 points apiece. Crusaders' Aniyah Benavente led her team with 4 in the loss.
• Elite Gold 31, Elite Black 27: Ryu Reklai dropped 9 points to power Gold to a championship. Cameron Williams had 9 for Black in the loss.
• Raiders White 39, Wolves Black 24: Josiah Madrazo led all scorers with 15 points to punch his team's ticket to the big show. Aiden Mantanona had 7 in the loss.
• Malesso Rebels 51, Yellow Jackets 47: Tyler Cruz paced the Rebels with 14 points to head to the ship.
• Island Wolves 44, Elite Gold 35: Xander Sanchez lit up the boards for the Wolves to drop 24 points in the win.
U18 girls playoffs
• Crusaders def. Warriors via forfeit.
• DYJ 34, Sharks 14: Anjanette Ponce led the Dededo offense by pouring in 14 points for the win.
U18 boys playoffs
• STC White 36, DYJ 29: Christian Leon Guerrero and Matt Fegurgur powered their team with 11 points apiece.
• Warriors 54, Sharks 32: Thelo Orichiro and Josiah Quintanilla paved the way with 8 points apiece in the win.
All the winners in their respective age divisions will be playing in the championship, while losers compete for third in the consolation games. Games continue all this week with consolation games being played Tuesday at the Astumbo gym. Championship games are slated for Wednesday at the Guam Sports Complex and Thursday at Astumbo.