With the scoreboard showing goose egg nearly six minutes into the game, the Notre Dame High School Royals and Simon Sanchez High School girls basketball teams got off to a slow start.
Notre Dame, as nerves settled and action picked up on their home court in Talofofo, won the early season Independent Interscholastic Athletic Association of Guam contest, 36-30.
The Royals, closing the first quarter with a 10-0 run, found their rhythm. Lauren Phillips, with two minutes remaining in the period, scored the first basket.
“When we started to produce, we were able to get steals and layups,” said Cy Concepcion, the Royals head coach.
Nicolette Perez, with a game-high 16 points, paced the Royals. Phillips and Haley Salas, with a half-dozen points each, contributed on both ends of the floor.
“We started off really slow,” said Perez, adding, “I look to pass first. … I feel if I can help my teammates, we are better as a team.”
“She’s, pretty much, our floor general,” Concepcion said. “We have a lot of confidence in her. … She controlled the tempo today, and knew when to push the ball and when to shoot.”
With a nearly 13-minute scoring drought, until 5:16 in the second quarter, Simon Sanchez’s Angelique Sahagun made their first bucket and cut the deficit to 10-2.
Behind Perez’s 7-point second quarter scoring bonanza, ND led at halftime, 19-5.
Perez, closing the third quarter with a 3-pointer from the corner, widened the gap to 36-18, but Sanchez’s nerve was unshaken.
In the final quarter, Sanchez went on a 12-2 tear but came up a bit short.
The Sharks’ Zyla Sorianao, with a 3-pointer and 7 points, helped fuel the silver-and-black offense. Teammate Ronafe Ollet, with a team-high 14 points, 7 in the final frame, kept things interesting.
In a contest where both teams struggled from the free throw line, the Sharks converted only 7-of-28. The Royals, making 4-of-16 from the charity stripe, with a dismal 25%, matched the Sharks.
The Royals, with the win, improve to 3-2 and will take on the two-time defending champion Saint Paul Christian School Warriors on Saturday, in Harmon.
“They are a very good defensive team, and they always create a lot of good traps,” Concepcion said.