So far, it’s been an exceptional year for Bahamian high school standout Kai Jones and the highly rated Brewster Academy Cougars boys basketball squad. On Friday, they captured the USA National Prep Championships title, defeating Scotland Campus Sports, 67-51, at Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut, USA. This was the academy’s sixth championship in the past 10 years.
Coming into the tournament, Brewster Academy sported a 30-6 win-loss record. Scotland had an even more impressive record, at 34-1.
In their first game of the championships, Brewster Academy defeated IMG Academy, 87-71. In a fiercely contested quarterfinal game against the Woodstock Academy Centaurs, Jones scored 12 points, including a three-pointer with one minute left in regulation, to help the Cougars pull off a slim 82-80 victory. In the semifinals, Brewster Academy demolished Massanutten Military out of Virginia, 91-73, to advance to the final.
Jones said: “Winning the National Prep Championship was a feeling like no other. The tournament overall was great for me. I made a few big plays to help my team complete the mission and I was able to showcase my talent as well as dominate as a team.”
Brewster Academy was one of 10 teams to play in the competitive championships which featured last year’s champion, the 34-1 Putnam Science Academy Mustangs, and the 34-1 Centaurs among others.
Prior to the tournament, Jones and his team suffered a 96-85 loss to Northfield Mount Hermon at Western New England University in the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) Class AAA Finals on Sunday March 3.
Last year, Jones and the Orlando Christian Prep team won the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) Class 3A State Championship. This year, the Cougars has garnered a lot of attention, even before the season started, and that attention has since been earned, given the Cougars’ high-flying style of play and their success thus far.
Jones, a University of Texas at Austin commit, said the attention has its benefits, but collectively, they’re just keeping their minds on winning basketball games.
One reason for the widespread media attention is springy North Carolina State commit Jalen Lecque. He was named the National Prep Championships’ Most Valuable Player (MVP).
Jones said he has improved mentally as a player, and he’s fortunate to play with a fantastic group of guys this season.
“I feel that I have definitely improved as a player mainly just in terms of my mentality,” he said. “I play with a lot more confidence and I’ve gotten better at making reads on both ends of the floor. I’m fortunate to play with a fantastic group of guys and a be taught by a coach (Jason Smith) who is a high school basketball legend in his own right,” added Jones.
Jones said that he is looking forward to spring training – ensuring that his body is ready for college and improving his skill sets. He said he is just scratching the surface in terms of what he is capable, and will be capable of doing, on the basketball court.
Jones thanked the Bahamian people who have supported him throughout his basketball career whether it’s on social media, in person, or otherwise.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism
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