Gleaves, Seoul beat Faith for title - again
Stars and Stripes February 26, 2011
NAVAL BASE, Guam – Jordan Elliott signed a national letter of intent two weeks ago to play basketball at the U.S. Military Academy. On Saturday, she showed what West Point can expect from her – and helped Seoul American win its second straight Far East Girls Division I Tournament title.
Elliott scored eight of her 18 points in the third quarter as the Falcons gradually pulled away from a tenacious Faith Academy squad, beating the Vanguards for the second straight year, 47-39, at Naval Base’s Charles King Fitness & Sports Center.
“She’s clearly a leader out there,” coach Billy Ratcliff said. “She has all the qualities you want to see in a military officer. She’s a natural leader, she’s assertive, she’s decisive. If she makes a mistake, she takes responsibility for it.”
Elliott is one of four Falcons who can “take over” when somebody has a down day, Elliott, Liz Gleaves, Destinee Harrison and Mecca Perkins. “Sometimes, it’s Liz. Sometimes, it’s Jordan. It depends on the situation.”
Saturday’s situation, Ratcliff said, called for the Falcons to force the Vanguards into early mistakes that led to easy baskets. “We went into a safe zone, didn’t pressure a lot,” Ratcliff said. “We have a lot of team quickness that makes people do things they should not do.”
That quickness forced Faith to hurry many shots and turn over the basketball; the Vanguards shot 14-for-56 and committed 18 miscues.
“Our plan would have worked if we’d taken care of the ball,” Vanguards coach Josh Manthe said. “The bad passes. We let their pressure get to us. They’re a tough team. They deserve it.”
The Falcons (27-2) led by as many as 17 points in the fourth quarter on an Elliott basket that made it 45-28 with 3 minutes, 45 seconds left.
Kelly Hardeman, who led all scorers with 23 points, tied the game early at 8-8 on a reverse layup with 3:20 left in the first period. Elliott’s foul shot 22 seconds later gave the Falcons the lead for good.
Gleaves, named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player for the second straight year, had 13 points and 12 rebounds. Hardeman added 10 rebounds and Kendra Hause 12 for Faith (19-7). Vanguards point guard Grace Fern was held to nine points.
It was the fourth straight time Seoul American won a Far East Division I Tournament title and Gleaves an MVP award at Faith’s expense, dating back to last year’s basketball tournament at Camp Zama, Japan.
The Falcons also beat Faith in five sets in the D-I volleyball finals in November and edged the Vanguards in a penalty-kick shootout in the D-I soccer tournament title match last May on Okinawa.
Seoul American won its fourth D-I basketball tournament title in six finals appearances since 2005, and fifth overall since 1984.
Since winning its first Division II title in 1996, Faith Academy’s girls basketball teams have reached center court of Far East tournaments at both Division I and II 13 times, winning five Division I titles and four Division II titles.Storm Roberts of Guam High School's journalism group contributed to this firstname.lastname@example.org