The St. Paul Christian School Warriors’ mission to reclaim the Independent Interscholastic Athletic Association of Guam championship title took another positive step on Friday night, knocking off the shellshocked Notre Dame High School Royals 70-17.
In the Warriors' first two games of the young season, they are averaging a 57-point margin of victory.
After four straight championship victories, the Warriors were dethroned by the Academy of Our Lady of Guam Cougars earlier this year.
From the opening tip and carrying throughout the entire 32 minutes, the Warriors dominated the visiting Royals on St. Paul’s home court in Harmon.
With St. Paul’s A’lura Hernandez, Kaylie Pinaula and Sazzy Quintanilla scoring early buckets, the Warriors cruised through the first quarter, 10-2. With the Warriors’ triple-threat dominating Notre Dame, St. Paul was equally devastating on defense, not allowing a field goal for 13 minutes, 10 seconds into the contest.
“I just loved the intensity and our teamwork together and I just feel so grateful,” said Quintanilla, who finished with a game-high 17 points.
The Warriors held the Royals to just three baskets in the first half, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. A combination of impenetrable Warriors defense and Notre Dame’s colder-than-ice shooting kept their side of the scoreboard from trending upward. With Notre Dame’s Faith Piper and Riah Arceo struggling to find the bottom of the net, they spent a good chunk of time at the free-throw line, a byproduct of St. Paul not allowing any easy layups. But, just as their shots from the floor weren’t falling, neither were their attempts from the charity stripe. As a team, the Royals made 9 of 30 from the free-throw line.
Arceo, who scored 6 of her 9 points from the free-throw line, was the Royals' high-scorer. Piper, who grabbed a dozen boards and blocked four shots, finished with 7 points.
The Royals trailed 25-12 at halftime and needed something to change drastically. What happened was more of the same, the Warriors returned even stronger.
In the third quarter, Quintanilla drained one of her three 3-pointers on the night and Pinaula made back-to-back-to-back layups. For the remainder of the game, the Warriors only allowed a single field goal. Pinaula, who ran the Warriors' offense, finished with 12 points. Hernandez, a force in the paint on defense and just as dominant inside the key on offense, finished with 11 points.
“I just put everything down,” added Quintanilla.
Heading into the fourth quarter, the Warriors led 45-15, but they weren’t finished. With most of their starters on the bench, sophomore Ryanna Ngirchomlei locked down on defense and scored 6 points. Sharing the wealth, finding the cutter and scoring most of their points off turnovers, nine different Warriors scored in the period.
"We just communicated a lot and we just look for each other and had a lot of love for each other,” Quintanilla said.