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The Bahamas beats the DR

The Bahamas gained some much needed confidence in men’s basketball on Monday, turning back the Dominican Republic (DR) and gaining some much needed confidence as they continue to pursue a spot in the 2020 Olympics.

The country is out of the 2019 FIBA (International Basketball Federation) World Cup Qualifiers, winning just one of six games in the first round of qualifiers out of Group D of the FIBA Americas region. Last night’s win had to be a momentum builder though. In February, the DR blasted The Bahamas by 36 at home, the Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium in Nassau, The Bahamas.

The Baha Mar-sponsored Team Bahamas found themselves in a hostile environment last night, playing the DR on their home court at the Palacio de los Deportes in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Still, the team came out fighting and persevered. They survived a number of bad turnovers in the final two minutes of the game, winning 83-82. A couple potential game-winning shots by the DR in the waning seconds bounced off.

The Bahamas led by double digits in the fourth quarter and were ahead by eight with two minutes left, but the DR battled back. The Bahamas turned the ball over five times in the final two minutes of the game – two by Michael Carey alone. Nevertheless, they came out with a win, and  one can argue that it was a much better performance than what the team had in an 84-74 loss to the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Thursday.

Out of the group, Canada finished with a 5-1 win/loss record, the DR ended at 4-2, the USVI settled for a 2-4 mark, and The Bahamas salvaged a winless performance, ending the first round at 1-5.

The Bahamas led almost the entire way, 18-14 after the first quarter, 36-32 at the half, and 61-56 at the end of three quarters. The lead reached 13 points in the final quarter until the DR’s frantic rally at the end that was nearly successful.

National Basketball Association (NBA) player with the Sacramento Kings Chavano “Buddy” Hield and Travis Munnings paced Team Bahamas with 19 points apiece – Hield on 6-for-14 shooting but just 1-for-5 from distance, and Munnings at 50 percent shooting (6-for-12). Munnings was fantastic, particularly early in the game in the first quarter, leading The Bahamas to an early seven-point lead, 18-11. He had 11 points four rebounds and two steals in the first quarter alone, after scoring just three on Thursday night against the USVI. Munnings finished with eight rebounds and three steals in total to go along with his 19 points. Hield also had eight rebounds and three steals. Carey finished with 15 points on 5-for-14 shooting for The Bahamas, and added seven assists and two rebounds. Shaquille Cleare came off the bench to score 11 points and added six rebounds, and Kadeem Coleby made it five players in double figures with 10 points and four rebounds.

Victor Liz had a game-high 23 points for the DR. Luis Montero scored 12 points and had four rebounds, and Rigoberto Mendoza contributed 10 points. Edward Santana had nine points and six rebounds for the DR. Eloy Camacho and Gelvis Solano scored eight points apiece. Camacho had seven rebounds and Solano had five steals.

The Bahamas’ lead reached double digits for the first time on a three-point shot from Carey in the third quarter. Carey’s shot gave the team a 58-47 lead with 1:59 to go in the third. The DR cut the lead to 61-56 at the end of three, but The Bahamas scored the first four points of the final period to stretch the lead to nine.

A three-point shot from reserve guard Jaron Cornish with just four minutes remaining game The Bahamas its biggest lead of the game, 77-64, but the DR wasn’t dead yet. They went on a 16-2 run, taking the lead, 80-79, on a lay-up from Liz. Munnings dropped in two free shots to put The Bahamas ahead 81-80 with 52 seconds remaining, and a basket by Carey 20 seconds later pushed the lead to 83-80. Jaraun “Keno” Burrows missed two key free throws with 22 seconds remaining which could have put the game away, and then Montero cut the lead to one, 83-82, by burying his two free shots.

A steal by Montero with nine seconds left gave the DR a chance to win, but Liz missed a lay-up and Camacho misfired on a three-point shot as time expired.

The Bahamas shot 43.08 percent from the floor (28-for-65) compared to 37.84 percent for the DR (28-for-74). Neither team shot the ball well from distance. The Bahamas was just 6-for-20 from three-point land compared to 5-for-26 for the DR. The Bahamas had 18 turnovers for the second straight game, and the DR wasn’t much better with 14.

For The Bahamas, it’s back to the drawing board while the DR will be moving on to the second round of the world cup qualifiers along with Canada and the USVI.

The Bahamas is still alive for a run at the Olympics in 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. The team got some much needed confidence last night, and will look to build off that for the future.

Sheldon Longley

Sports Editor at The Nassau Guardian
Sheldon Longley joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2001 as a sports reporter. He was promoted to sports editor in 2008. Sheldon has an extensive background in sports reporting. He covered three Olympic Games and three world championships, along with multiple smaller regional and local games.
Education: College of The Bahamas, Associates in Accounting

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