Giants repeat as champions, High Flyers win in division two
The New Providence Basketball Association (NPBA) championships ended at A.F. Adderley Gymnasium over the weekend, with the Commonwealth Bank Giants and the Breezes High Flyers winning the titles.
Giants 96, Rockets 85
After losing game three, the Commonwealth Bank Giants bounced back to win the next two games to take the NPBA Division I Championship series four games to one over the Rockets.
In game five on Saturday night, the Giants outscored the Rockets 50-29 in the second and third quarters en route to a 96-85 series-clinching win.
D’Shon Taylor led the way for the Giants with a commanding 27 points, and added six rebounds and six assists. For the Rockets, Tomeko Moxey was the high-point man with 24 points.
The Rockets came out aggressively, getting out to an early 16-9 lead after Moxey scored from beyond the three-point arc. Michael “Furley” Bain Jr. cut it down to two after he made a lay-up with 1:13 to go in the quarter. The Rockets ended the quarter ahead 27-22 and seemed poised to get back in the series.
Seven players scored for the Giants in the second quarter. The Giants’ Kevin Hinsey tied the game at 36 with a three-point shot from beyond the arc with 6:30 remaining in the second quarter. The scoring between the two teams went back and forth for three minutes with four lead changes and two ties. With 19 seconds remaining in the quarter, Ishmael Curtis gave Giants a 47-44 lead at the half with a lay-up.
The third quarter belonged to Giants as they outscored the Rockets 25-12. The Rockets dug themselves in a 72-56 hole that they never came out of, despite scoring 29 points in the final quarter.
Bain and Tehran Cox scored 21 and 12 points, respectively, to back up Taylor for the Giants. Gamaliel Rose grabbed eight rebounds for the Giants.
The Rockets’ Cordero Pinder and Livingston Munnings scored 18 and 16 points, respectively, behind Moxey. Munnings had a double-double as he added 12 rebounds. Barry Carter and Eugene Bain had 10 and seven rebounds respectively.
High Flyers 100, Aliv Buckets 98
The Breezes High Flyers were crowned champions in the NPBA Division II over the weekend. They defeated the Aliv Buckets 100-98 in overtime in game four to sweep the series four games to none.
In the first three games, the High Flyers had a much easier time than they did in game four. In game four, the Buckets fought to avoid getting sweep but Dale Davis and his High Flyers were too much for them to handle.
The High Flyers came into this one ready to put the game away early, starting the game on a 7-2 scoring run after Shontoin Pratt hit a three-pointer. The Buckets responded, taking the lead, 10-7, after a James Rolle’ three-pointer. However, the Buckets’ Dylan Musgrove sent the crowd wild after a dunk to give them a four-point lead, 17-13. The Buckets ended the first quarter ahead 24-17. Rolle dropped in seven points in the first quarter.
The second quarter belonged to High Flyers as they tried to not let the game get out of hand. With 8:26 to go, Delano Forbes scored a three-point shot to give the High Flyers a 27-26 lead. Jeremy Neely pulled up for a jump shot to give the Flyers a six-point lead with 2:02 remaining in the half. The Buckets went on an 8-0 run capped by a three-pointer with six seconds remaining from Levonne Moxey to end the half. The half ended with the Buckets up 42-40.
The third quarter provided more excitement for the fans of both teams as the players displayed toughness and resilience. It was a close battle as the Buckets took a seven-point lead halfway through the quarter only to have the High Flyers continue to come back. Rashad Ingraham split a pair of free throws to give the Buckets a 57-50 lead.
With 18 seconds to go in the quarter, Pratt hit both of his free throws to give the High Flyers a 66-64 lead. With their season in jeopardy, the Buckets responded. They led for most of the fourth quarter. The Buckets led by seven points with just under two minutes to go after Ingraham made both of his free throws. With 43 seconds to go, High Flyers’ star Dave Davis made a tough lay-up to bring his team to within one point. With 11 seconds to go, Davis got fouled while taking a three-point shot. He calmly sunk all three clutch free throws to even the score at 87. The Buckets had one last chance to steal this game, but a desperation shot fell short and the game went into overtime.
In overtime, tempers flared. Ingraham scored just one point in the overtime session as Pratt’s defense was suffocating. High Flyers’ three-point specialist Enrico Bethel hit a corner three to give his team a 95-93 lead. Ingraham then scored his lone point of the overtime session as he split a pair of free throws. With 0.9 seconds to go and the game tied, the High Flyers’ Dwight Moss missed a jump shot but his teammate Davis grabbed the rebound and gave it back to him. He scored a tough lay-up over three Buckets’ defenders to seal a 100-98 series-ending victory for the High Flyers.
“This one feels good, especially to go back-to-back but we worked hard all year. I want to thank the Lord first, then my group of guys because they worked hard and they deserved this,” said Donny Culmer, High Flyers’ head coach. Culmer said he knew the Buckets were going to come out and play hard.
Looking forward to next season, Culmer said: “Next year we’re going up to the big boys. We will take these young legs up to the big boys.”
Davis said: “We stick together. We did what we had to do – get our rebounds and no fouls.” Davis said the series went the way it went because his team followed Culmer’s instructions to put the ball in the basket and rebound.
Davis finished the game with 25 points, 18 rebounds and two steals. Neely and Bethel had 19 points apiece. Bethel had five three-pointers for the High Flyers. Pratt and Moss grabbed 11 and seven rebounds, respectively.
For the losing team, Kieran Mortimer led the way with 22 points and five assists. Anwar Neilly had 18 points and Rolle contributed 16. After scoring 39 points in game three, Ingraham had 16 points to go along with 15 rebounds.