After pulling off a huge upset over the defending champions St. Augustine’s College (SAC) Big Red Machine to start the season, the St. John’s College Giants kept it rolling yesterday, beating the upstart Temple Christian Suns at home.
The Giants withstood a furious rally in the fourth quarter as they nearly blew a double-digit lead, but held on to win, 50-46, at St. John’s. They are now undefeated through two games to start the Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools (BAISS) season while the Suns dropped to 1-1.
They are regarded as two of the top senior boys’ basketball teams in the private schools sector this season.
The Giants led for the majority of the game, taking as much as a 12-point lead in the third, and leading by 10 in the fourth, before the Suns battled all the way back. They eventually tied the game late in the fourth on a driving lay-up by Miguel Barnes. However, the Giants regained their composure when they had to, and scored four of the game’s final six points to seal the deal.
“I’m proud of my boys. They fought hard and hung in there, particularly when Temple Christian came back in the game. They have been a thorn in our side for the past three years. They are coached well and they have really good players. They are strong and they are scrappy. It is going to be tough to beat them if we meet them down the road but we’re ready for the challenge,” said Giants’ Head Coach Duery Edgecombe.
After the Suns pulled even at 44, the Giants got a huge shot in the lane from Tyrice Porter to re-take the lead. Emmanuel Carey hit a lay-up for the Giants to give them a four-point lead, but the Suns got to within a single basket again when Dayton Albury drove baseline for a lay-up. Porter had another basket in the final minute of the game and the Giants held on for the four-point victory.
Porter led his team with a game-high 16 points.
“I feel good about the win. We got a lil sloppy at the end, but we hung in there and pulled it off. We executed when we needed to,” said Porter. “Defensively, we still have a lot to work on. We gave up too many easy lay-ups and that almost caused us to lose the game.”
Porter and Albury went back and forth all game in a match-up of two of the better point guards in the private school sector. Porter had just nine points for the Suns but was a key component on both ends of the court in their surge late in the game. However, it was Porter who had the last say, leading his team to victory in the fourth quarter.
“That was a good challenge today, and he always performs well when we play them. He’s going to come back even stronger next time so we have to be ready for that,” said Porter.
Suns’ Head Coach Jammal Smith said they were a bit overwhelmed in the beginning, and the by the time they worked themselves back into the game, it was too late.
“St. John’s came out with a lot of intensity. The crowd was into the game and we didn’t respond too well to that. We got off to a slow start and got ourselves in a hole. Once the game tightened up in the fourth quarter, we started to play our game but it was too late,” he said. “Fatigue wasn’t a factor. Our guys are well-conditioned. We just had a couple of easy lay-ups there at the end that we couldn’t put in the basket. Free throws were a factor as well. We missed a lot of free throws and that caused us. Once we clean that up, we should be alright. All respect go to St. John’s. They played a very strong game, and we should see them again down the road.”
St. John’s led for the majority of the game. They were ahead 11-6 after the first quarter, 22-20 at the half, and 36-28 at the end of three. They had a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter before the Suns battled all the way back.
“This is a wake-up call for both teams,” said Smith. “We’re familiar with each other so there is a level of intensity that was there. It was a tough game, but if we meet them down the road we will be more prepared and possibly reverse the outcome. Championship is the goal. We have a core here and we feel like we could get it done. We have some well-seasoned players, and we feel like there is no excuse why we can’t go all the way. Losses like this are good teaching points where we could get stronger and improve and we will.”
Giants’ coach Edgecombe said that they don’t have any goals other than to play hard each and ever game and look for a positive result.
“We started to make a lot of mental mistakes today and that nearly caused us at the end. We have to continue to play hard all the way through and finish games, and just continue to play our game,” he said. “We have a scrappy ream. We’re not on anyone’s radar, but we have to continue to play hard. We’re just taking it one game at a time and hopefully we’ll come out on top at the end of the season.”
Behind Porter’s game-high, Torrez Basden and Denaje Rolle dropped in seven apiece for the Giants. Jordan Maycock had six, and Carey contributed five. Christian Sturrup paced the Suns with 11 points. Albury had nine, and Barnes, Garreth Edgecombe and Taleo Bethel dropped in four apiece.
BAISS basketball play will continue with games in the senior girls and junior divisions at various schools around New Providence today.
Education: College of The Bahamas, Associates in Accounting