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GUAM Youth Basketball Association Drug Free Youth Basketball League playoffs got into full swing at Astumbo Gymnasium in Dededo, with the boys U12 Yellow Jacket White team taking on the Crusaders.
Action got underway slowly in the semifinals game, with each of their respective first four possessions, turning the ball over on errant passes and several turnover calls. It wasn’t until within the third minute of play that the Crusaders’ Isiah Reyes banked one in, settling the deadlock and taking a 2-0 lead.
Moments later, the Yellow Jackets’ Andrew Sawpayan performed a 360º-spin move, draining the bucket and knotting things up at 2-2. The first quarter ended with the Crusaders doubling up on the Yellow Jackets tally 8-4.
Looking to swing the momentum in their favor, the Yellow Jackets’ Dreyven Salas made a steal on the ball, taking the rock coast-to-coast for an uncontested layup.
Salas, accounting for all of the Yellow Jackets’ second-quarter scoring (six points), brought the stinging bees into halftime trailing the Crusaders 14-10. Earlier in the quarter, Reyes was able to score another pair of Crusader buckets from lane drives, bringing his total for the half to eight points.
The third quarter saw both teams only amass six total points, five by the Crusaders’ Reyes and a lone free throw from the Yellow Jackets’ Troy Santos. With the game seemingly well in hand, the Crusaders went into the third-quarter break leading 19-11.
Feeling the desperation that one only feels when they sense their season coming to a defeated end, the Yellow Jackets started throwing up long distance air balls. The Crusaders’ Reyes was able to capitalize on the misses, scoring his team’s first four points of the final period, increasing their advantage to 23-11.
With less than two minutes left to go in the game, the Yellow Jackets’ defense switched to a full court press, resulting in three consecutive Crusader turnovers, which Calano and Salas turned into baskets.
The scrappy Yellow Jackets would be able to come within one point of the lead, but the end buzzer sounded with the Crusaders winning the game 24-21.
Isiah Reyes (17 points), having scored all but seven of his team’s points, commented after the game, “I wanted to play all out with all my heart.”
When asked what he would have to do to help his team with the championship game, he said: “I am going to be a leader.”
Crusaders coach Corey Hoefling had this to say about his star player Reyes: “He’s one of our anchors. He’s pretty much our go-to man down low.”