Going into the final day of the Schools National A Division bowling championships at Temasek Club, the Raffles Institution (RI) girls' team were a mere 74 pinfalls behind arch-rivals Anglo-Chinese Junior College (ACJC).
The scores at the end of the doubles competition on Monday were tight - ACJC had 8,806 pinfalls to RI's 8,732.
That provided the foundation for the Rafflesians to come from behind and defeat their rivals 4,478-4,370 pinfalls in the quartet competition to retain their A Division crown by a narrow 34 pinfalls yesterday.
Amid jubilant scenes at the bowling alley, RI's Tiara Atiqah told The Straits Times: "From what we learnt when we won the title last year, every pin is important.
"We just keep thinking about making good shots, and as long as we do our process correctly, the results will come.
"But we definitely had to tell ourselves to keep calm whenever we didn't get the result we wanted."
The 18-year-old, who knocked down a total of 3,398 pins, also emphasised the now-or-never situation that characterised the final day, saying: "I've been bowling with this school for six years, so I thought that I really have to step up now - it's my last moment."
Her team-mate Vanessa Choong, who was the team's top scorer with 3,408 pinfalls, added: "Today everybody knew that it was all or nothing. In the end, everybody performed.
"It really shows that we've progressed a lot and we've learnt throughout the past three days of this competition."
ACJC had better luck in the boys' competition, claiming their fourth title in five years.
After three days of bowling, the ACJC boys' team (14,611 pinfalls) beat the Singapore Sports School (14,510 pinfalls) and Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) (14,405 pinfalls) for the title.
ACJC captain, Max Peh, felt it will become increasingly harder for the team to retain their title, saying: "I'm very happy with my team's performance.
"The competition is getting bigger and there are really many good players out there.
"We cannot get complacent. Everybody has an equal chance of winning. How much we want (the victory), we just have to show it, and the team spirit should be the one to carry us through."