The Okkodo High School Bulldogs and the John F. Kennedy High School Islanders struggled from the floor, layups rimming out and the majority of 3-pointers falling way short or too long, but the undefeated Islanders proved why they are the team to beat, dropping the Bulldogs 48-38.
Thursday night was the Bulldogs’ Senior Night in Dededo, but after 32 minutes of a competitive Guam Department of Education Interscholastic Sports Association girls basketball game, the Islanders were the ones celebrating.
“Today was actually our first win in Okkodo," said JFK’s Jada Han. “We really wanted to win today.”
“Because this was their Senior Night, we knew they also had that energy and wanted to win, but we had it more and we took it,” Han added.
Leading her team, as she has done all season, Han powered her way to a big night with a game-high 20 points, 14 rebounds and four assists. Aiding in JFK’s all-around team effort, Franchesca Aguilar scored 8 points, Cassandra Kido finished with 7 points, including a 3-pointer, and Laila Smartt chipped in with 4 points, scoring all of her points in the first quarter.
For the Bulldogs, Alaya Fontanilla scored a team-high 13 points, including a shot from beyond the arc and a trio of momentum-changing drives to the lane. Fontanilla was 4-for-4 from the charity stripe. Jasmine Samson, the Bulldogs second strongest scoring option on the night, scored 9 points, including a fourth-quarter 3-point shot. Sharm Taiuwei contributed with 8 points and nine rebounds.
The Bulldogs opened the game aggressively, driving the lane, but missing layups. Taiuwei did a great job on the offensive glass, but second-chance points were difficult to come by as the Bulldogs struggled getting the ball inside the cylinder.
The Islanders coaching staff saw the Bulldogs were dominating play and called a timeout. Back on the floor, a more focused, determined Islanders squad returned to action. Out of the timeout, Smartt made a layup, then Han tied the game 8-8 on a 360-degree fallaway jumper. Later in the period, a free throw from Han gave the Islanders the lead for good. Okkodo’s Vaysia Blas closed the quarter with a seven-foot floater down the baseline, pulling the bulldogs within 1 point and bringing the fans to their feet.
The Islanders opened the second quarter with a 7-0 run, Han and Aguilar’s performance on both ends of the floor dictated play. Both Han and Aguilar brought the rock strong to the hole. Han’s shots were rimming out, but her effort on the offensive glass gave the Islanders second chances. Back-to-back layups from Aguilar prompted the Bulldogs to burn one of their timeouts.
For the first six minutes of quarter No. 2, the Bulldogs couldn’t buy a bucket, as 3-point attempts turned into dismal airballs. But the last two minutes belonged to Okkodo, with Fontanilla driving hard to the hole for three straight layups. Islanders turnovers and the senior’s speed in transition kept the Bulldogs within striking distance. Behind Fontanilla’s hard-nose, tempo-setting play, the Bulldogs pulled within three points, trailing 22-19 at halftime.
The Islanders defense held the Bulldogs to two field goals in the third quarter, whereas Han scored another 6 points.
In the fourth period, the Islanders increased their lead to 17 points, putting the game out of reach. Samson and Fontanalla each drained 3-pointers, but there wasn’t enough time left to mount a comeback.