Close win for Hwa Bong-joong, challenge for strongest Sam Seon-jung

Hwa Bong-joong meets Sam Sun-joong in the final.

On his home court, Ulsan’s Hwa Bong-joong came from behind in the fourth quarter to win 66-63 in the first game of the boys’ U16 semifinals at the 52nd National Youth Sports Games at Ulsan University Gymnasium in Ulsan on Monday.

Song Min-woo (175 cm, G) led the way with 28 points and nine rebounds, including three 3-pointers, while Park Joo-an (185 cm, G) chipped in with five 3-pointers.

The first quarter was a tightly contested affair with neither team backing down.

However, in the second quarter, Ho Kye Joong gradually built up a lead as the offense of Kim Min Joon (185 cm, F) and Heo Gun Woo (189 cm, G) came into play.

The motivated Ho Kye-joong did not slow down their offense in the second half. He scored 10 points from under the basket and grabbed rebound after rebound to solidify the victory.

However, a crisis soon followed. Cheon Ki-young (175 cm, G) fouled out against Hwa Bong-joong’s guard.

Ho Kye Joong tried to protect the lead by bringing in Baek Ji-hoon (192 cm, C.F) to add height, but their perimeter defense faltered and they began to give up three-pointers in a row.

The three-pointers helped Hwa Bongjoong close the gap, and with 2:21 left in the game, Song Min-woo got a lightning steal followed by a layup and free throw to make it 62-61.

Ho Kye-joong made a free throw to tie the game again, but with 18.4 seconds left, Hwa Bong-joong’s Park Joo-an hit a three-pointer to seal the deal.

In the next game, Seoul’s Samsunjung, a heavy favorite, won by a wide margin over Incheon’s Songdojung, 90-55, as brothers Yoon Ji-won (190 cm, G0) and Yoon Ji-hoon (185 cm, G) combined for 47 points.

In the girls’ U16 semifinal at Ulsan National University of Science and Technology Gymnasium, ace Im Yeon-seo (170 cm, G) exploded for 36 points to lead the offense as Gwangju’s Supia Girls’ High School defeated Gyeongnam’s Masan Girls’ High School 82-65 to advance to the final.

In addition to her scoring prowess, Lim Yeon-seo also showed her ability to stabilize the game, giving her team the win with a flawless performance.

In the second semifinal, Busan’s Dongju Women’s High School scored early and often to defeat Seoul’s Sunil Women’s High School, 71-55, to advance to the final, where they will play Supia Women’s High School for the gold medal 먹튀검증.

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