Undefeated!Royals finish off third straight season unbeaten; girls go the distance
Once again, the D.W. Davis Royals are the Government Secondary Schools Sports Association (GSSSA) junior boys basketball champions, and once again, they finished the season unbeaten.
The Royals haven’t dropped a game in the GSSSA in three years, culminated with an impressive 44–36 win over the C.H. Reeves Raptors at Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium yesterday, sealing their third straight title. After the Raptors kept it close for three quarters, the Royals picked up the pace in the fourth and galloped to another win.
They outscored the Raptors, 22–12, in the all-important fourth.
“A few years ago, we ‘three-peated’, and now we have done it again, but this one is even more special because it’s three straight years without losing a game,” said Royals Head Coach Mark Hanna. “I told the guys that once they work hard, they would be able to sow what they reap.
They put in the work all year, and we were successful.”
Kenvon Farrington and Deangelo Foulkes came up huge for the Royals again, particularly in the fourth quarter. That duo accounted for 19 of the Royals’ 22 points in the fourth. Farrington finished with a game-high 22, nine of which came in the fourth. Foulkes scored 10 of his 16 points in the fourth. No player scored in double figures for the Raptors. Marley Major led them in scoring with eight, and Levardo Kemp, Glenroy Howard and Charlot St. Juste contributed six apiece.
The game was tied at 10 after the first quarter, the Raptors took a 19–18 lead at the half, and were still ahead, 24–22, at the end of three. The Royals had their most lopsided period of the series in the fourth quarter, pulling away to sweep the best-of-three series two games to none and finish off their third straight unbeaten season.
“We worked hard all year. By November, we were already in our system, and it was just a matter of it coming together for us,” said Hanna. “We’re going to start preparing for next year by Saturday. By the summer, we would already have a lot of work in, and by November, we will be into our system again. It’s an ongoing process for us, so we don’t expect to lose anything much.”
The two girls’ series, junior and senior, will both go the distance, as the T.A. Thompson Scorpions junior girls and the Doris Johnson Mystic Marlins senior girls evened up their respective series yesterday.
The Scorpions got a game-high 15 points from Shaquonia Daxon and 10 from Adina Webster, to hold off the defending champions H.O. Nash Lions, 29–22. Grennia Sands paced the Lions with eight points, and Esther Pierre had four.
The Scorpions trailed 8–7 after the opening quarter, the game was knotted at 12 at the break, and the Scorpions surged ahead, 22–18, after three. They held off the Lions in the fourth.
In game two of the senior girls championship series, the two-time defending champions Mystic Marlins breezed past the C.V. Bethel Stingrays, 37-24.
Kovanique Rolle paced the Mystic Marlins with 11 points. Tanea Bowleg added nine, and Kristian Sands and Briontae Riley dropped in six apiece.
“We came off a tough loss in game one, but our team was able to execute tonight like we planned,” said Mystic Marlins Head Coach Kavon Spence. “We didn’t really sleep last night, but we put some work in this morning and executed the game plan with excellence today. We have some really good players, but they tend to be really stubborn at times and they want their own way. An individual could win a single game, but it takes a team to win a championship. We just decided to come together.”
Aaliyah Johnson matched Rolle for game-high honors with 11 for the Stingrays. Shanyah Bowe was their next highest scorer, with five, but went scoreless after the opening period.
“Our girls were tired. We had sports day today, and my girls had no legs. That is what killed us today,” said Stingrays’ Head Coach Glenda Gilcud. “I’m sure we will be able to bounce back. Nothing is going to change. We are going to stick with the same game plan – defense and taking the ball to the basket.”
The Mystic Marlins trailed 8–4 after the opening quarter, but surged ahead, 16–14, at the half. They came out of the half fired up, out-scoring the Stingrays, 10–4, in the third, and taking a 26–18 advantage into the fourth. They are now just one win away from a third straight GSSSA senior girls basketball title.
“You can’t turn the ball over 25 times in a game, and expect to win. We cut down on that tonight, and it paid off for us,” said Spence. “We have two nights to sleep and get ready for the next game. We just have to come out, be ready to play, and execute.”
The third and decisive games of the junior and senior girls series are set for Thursday at Kendal G. L. Isaacs National Gym.
Meanwhile, the result of game two of the GSSSA senior boys championship series was unavailable up to press time. The C.C. Sweeting Cobras won game one of that series against the defending champions, Anatol Rodgers Timberwolves, and were ahead at the half, 30–23, last night. They were looking to complete the sweep while the Timberwolves were looking to force a decisive game three on Thursday.