When Mariah Franzciel headed towards the bench with her teammates after her coach yelled for a timeout with the scoreline still finely poised at 34-34, she was shivering in fear.
However, the Kranji Secondary School B Division basketball girls captain knew she had to set a good example for her teammates.
Mariah Franzciel (left), Kranji Secondary School B Division basketball girls captain. (Photo by VoxSports)
So she pulled herself together and told them in no uncertain terms that if they wanted to win the ActiveSG-Basketball Association of Singapore (BAS) Basketball Development League 2015 title, it was going to be now or never.
Rejuvenated and energised by their captain’s speech, the Kranjians then spent the rest of overtime playing their hearts out to beat a gusty New Town Secondary School 37-35 in a heart-stopping final.
Franzicel, who plays as a small forward and was the key driving force for her team’s attack, cut a relieved figure after the match.
“The final was so scary and even after the game I was shivering with fear. It was an amazing journey with the girls,” she told ActiveSG.
“New Town definitely gave us a tough fight in our bid to win the title. I know my girls put in a lot of effort to win and they were crying in between breaks because they were so nervous.
“If we didn't manage to get the rebounds after they missed their free throws, we would have lost.”
The 17-year-old also shared that the victory was extra special to the team because they wanted to redeem themselves after failing to enter the national round of the ‘B’ Division Inter-School Basketball Competition.
The victorious Kranji Secondary School B Division basketball girls. (Photo by VoxSports)
“This was our chance to redeem ourselves because we failed to get into Nationals after losing in our first two West Zone matches to Unity Secondary School and Jurong Secondary School,” explained Franzciel.
“I'm really thankful for this development league organised by BAS and Sport Singapore as it gives us the chance to get over the heartbreak of ending our journey to Nationals so early.
“They (the team) finally learnt how to stay positive and believed in themselves when the going gets tough because previously we lacked self-confidence and were having negative thoughts in our head.”
It was a different story in the boys B Division final as School of Science and Technology (SST) had to come from behind to beat Yuan Ching Secondary School.
SST, who were trailing for more than two quarters, subsequently mounted a comeback from the start of the third quarter to finally win 46-36.
School of Science and Technology (black) came from behind to beat Yuan Ching Secondary School. (Photo by VoxSports)
“I felt that it was a good win because the whole team work together to put up a very good defense,” said SST captain Pang Cheng Feng after the match.
“We were initially lazy on defense and we did not bother to convert to defense after every attack.
“Our coach then told us to put more pressure on them because we have come so far and we cannot just give up. So we put in our best effort and started working together as a team.”
In the girls 3rd/4th placing match, River Valley High School (RVHS) was outplayed 19-41 by a much more experienced Ngee Ann Secondary School.
River Valley High School (white) was outplayed 19-41 by a much more experienced Ngee Ann Secondary School. (Photo by VoxSports)
However, RVHS B Division girls coach Adrian Sng was proud of his team for playing to the best of their abilities.
Said Sng: “The game was a good exposure for my girls because they are all still in Secondary Three.
“My game plan was to control the game and the girls did well. However, the opponents are older and more experienced so they were stronger than us.
“But I'm very pleased that they did not give up without a fight and actually made life difficult for Ngee Ann.”
The 36-year-old only took over the reigns of the team four months ago and he shared that he was satisfied with the improvement the team has made.
“I only started coaching this group of girls four months ago and in the short time that I have trained them, I have seen them improved tremendously,” he said.
“So I believe that if I had more time with them, they would have beaten Ngee Ann today.
“The girls are now more confident to play against older and more skilful opponents. Now they are not afraid to take a shot or go for a layup.
“However, we need to work on defence and stamina. The girls also need more games to gel so I will arrange more friendlies for them.”