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IN THE opening minutes of play during the 2012 Guam Youth Basketball Association (GYBA) Drug Free Youth Basketball League U-14 division championship game at the Astumbo Gym in Dededo, Crusaders Grey and the Islanders displayed a lot of nervous energy, missing their early shot attempts.
Crusaders Grey's Devin San Agustin was able to cut through the tension, providing the game's first bucket with a heavily contested layup at the two-minute mark. Through very physical play, the Islanders' Aiden Fererra was able to get things going for his team by answering with a 10-foot jumpshot, knotting the game at two.
The first quarter included three lead changes, with San Agustin and Jacob Frias providing all the offense for Crusaders Grey, whereas the Islanders spread out their tally with four of their five starters providing well-balanced buckets. The first quarter ended with the Islanders leading 10-7.
Jacob Frias and his Crusaders Grey team came out onto the floor in the second quarter fired up, knocking down his second 3 and evening the score at 10-10. The Islanders seemed to take the game-knotting shot as a wakeup call, scoring seven unanswered points (17-10), fueled by Fererra's relentless crashing of the offensive boards and dead-on layups and jumpshots. Not to be outdone, San Agustin helped out with back-to-back buckets, ultimately helping his team enter the intermission only down by two (19-17).
The third quarter saw the Islanders and Crusaders Grey exchange the lead four times, with the Islanders, by the quarter's end, retaining a two-point lead (32-30).
To start the final period of play, the Crusaders' Jacob Frias drained his third 3 from deep, recapturing the lead (33-32). The following three subsequent possessions saw each team make their shots and, with only 2:30 left to play in the contest, this championship affair was once again leveled at 40-40. With time winding down, and at the charity stripe shooting two, the Islanders' Cole Merfalen drained one of two free throws, giving the Islanders a one-point lead (41-40), a lead they would never relinquish. The contest ended with the final score of 46-40, giving the well-deserved championship to the Islanders.
In an interview right after the game, Islanders coach Ronnie Santos commented on his team's knowledge of playing with one another and their gameplan coming into the contest: “These boys have played together since they were 6 years old and they know each other very well. I rely on the entire team and we have to use our strongest point – Aiden and Cole. I told Aiden to play his game and that he's the strongest link out there.”
Fererra ended the contest with 22 points and 14 all-purpose boards, while Merfalen chipped in 11 points. For the Crusaders, San Agustin ended up with 13 points and Frias dropped in 10 of his own.