BOMI Ralik Ratak men's championship challenge: Lae-Namu

Namu held off upset-minded Maloelap, and Lae dispatched Rongelap to set up a showdown Saturday between the top seeds in Pool A and Pool B for the championship of the BOMI 12th Ralik Ratak Shootout Invitational Basketball Tournament. In women's action, Mejit ran away from Lae to win third place.

In a foul-filled game, Lae defeated Rongelap in the first men's semi-final game Friday December 21 at the CMI court in Majuro. Lae took a 35-26 half time lead and then broke the game open in the third, running up a 20-point lead. The final score: 87-57. Lae will go to the finals Saturday against Namu. Rongelap will play Maloelap for third place.

Top scorers for Lae: Mokku Lamille 17, Lajji Maddison 15 and Nao Shoniber 13. For Rognelap: Raul Quinit 20 and Dar Labin 15.

In between games, the Marshall Islands Weightlifting Federation put on a weightlifting exhibition, wowing the crowd with record-breaking lifting weights. The RMI team of teenage boys and girls all lifted weights heavier than their body weights and more than one lifted record-breaking poundage for Oceania. Some of the weightlifters will be competing off island next year and Weightlifting Federation President Tony Muller their current level of weightlifting guarantees they will win medals in Oceania competition.

In the women's third place game, Lae had only six players and was stone cold in the first quarter as Mejit ran up a 16-2 lead. Mejit cruised to the final buzzer, winning 63-26. Game leading scorer was Mejit's Faith Lang, who scored 27 and Justina Boaz who added 14. For Lae, Maoli Maddison led with 12 points.

At the end of the game, MIBF Secretary General Deborah K. Shoniber recognized both teams and called up Bank of Marshall Islands representative Arlington Tibon to hand over the third place trophy and $300 cash to Team Mejit.

The men's Namu-Maloelap semi-final proved to be one of the best of the tourney. Namu held a two-point lead at the end of the first quarter and stretched the lead to 36-28 at the half. But Maloelap fought back in the third with Lani Lani hitting two three-point shots and tied the game at 48-all as the third quarter ended. A low-scoring fourth quarter followed as Namu worked the ball to eat up time  and both sides struggled to make free throws and field goals. Final score: Namu 59-Maloelap 55.

Leading scorers for Namu: Aichy Abner and Anja Emos 13, and Johnny Choban 12. For Maloelap: Spanky Pinho 17 and Keoki Pinho 14.

Games for Saturday December 22:

• 5:00pm Men   Rongelap v Maloelap — Men's Third Place

• 6:30pm Women   Majuro v Arno — Women's Championship

• 8:00pm Men   Lae v Namu — Men's Championship

Photo: Mejit receives its trophy and $300 third prize from BOMI representative Arlington Tibon.


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