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Dunman High School come from behind to clinch their first C Div boys’ basketball title

SINGAPORE – Over a month ago, Dunman High School’s Taddeo Tay fractured his right wrist for the second time in two years.

The latest setback ruled him out of action for about four weeks. But the 14-year-old, who captains the school’s C Division basketball team, was undeterred. He even continued to attend training and practised with his left hand.

He returned to action in mid-August before leading them to their first C Division boys’ basketball title after a comeback 67-55 win over Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) in the final at the OCBC Arena on Wednesday. Their previous best finish was a bronze in 2016.

“I couldn’t play for about four weeks, but I still went for training all the time to practise with my left hand,” said Taddeo, who admitted that he did feel a bit “rusty” after his injury layoff.

He had suffered a hairline fracture in his right wrist after falling in an East Zone second-round match against Dunman Secondary School on July 17. In 2022, he had fractured the same wrist, which left him wearing a cast for four months.

While he paid tribute to the team for their historic feat, Taddeo added: “At the start, we didn’t play to our full potential and ACS(I) played very well.

“Coach said that we always had a chance, but it’s whether we chose to grab it.”

Dunman High got off to a slow start, trailing ACS(I) 13-0 within five minutes. But they narrowed the deficit to 14-8 at the end of the first quarter.

They started the second period better. Forward Benny Lim netted a three-pointer and Kaynen Khoo scored seven points to turn the game around and help them lead 32-29.

A heroic performance from MVP Kain Shao then helped to seal the comeback with the power forward scoring 18 points in total and three other teammates ending in double digits.

Kain said they “did a good job as a team” to overturn the deficit at the start. “All the training has paid off, we got the ‘dub’, and we’re all happy,” he added, referring to “W” for the win.

Their coach Tan Siong Leng credited his opponents, saying: “They started better than us.

“Our guys were a bit nervous but once we got our first basket, we patched up our defence, managed to get a run and slowly got back the lead.”

Despite relinquishing their early lead, ACS(I) captain Chong Jia Le still saw the positives, saying: “It’s not the outcome that we wanted but I still feel that my team tried their best and they have come very far. It’s a historic performance for us.”

In the C Division girls’ final, Nanyang Girls’ High School (NYGH) beat Raffles Girls’ School (RGS) 45-34 to win their third title in a row.

They had won the 2018 and 2019 editions before the disruption of the National School Games due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

NYGH started strongly as Karis Lau scored six points to help her team finish the first quarter 11-6.

“We trained very hard and we worked as a team. It wasn’t an easy game, everyone put in their best effort,” said MVP Feng Yuan Xin, who scored 11 points in the third quarter, with a game total of 16.

“There were many good assists (and they) created many chances for me to score.”

NYGH’s teacher-in-charge Toh Lin Sin said: “It was very difficult actually, very tiring, five games in less than 10 days. I think it’s a miracle that we came to this point. I’m very heartened with their perseverance through this season.”

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