As it stands now, a decisive game five will be played in the New Providence Women’s Basketball Association (NPWBA) Championship series despite the Bees Trucking Destroyers actually winning three games on the court in the best-of-five series.
A decision was made after Saturday’s game two, giving the game to the young Foxxy’s Angels, after it was said that the Destroyers used an ineligible player.
According to the by-laws of the NPWBA, a player has to play in at least 25 percent of the games in the regular season, which would amount to three games, to be deemed eligible for the postseason.
The player in question, Sheldeen Joseph, played Saturday, and again last night as the Destroyers picked up another win on the court. A protest was lodged by the Angels following Saturday’s game, and it was ruled that she did not play in the required number of games. However, Destroyers’ Head Coach Donillo “Donnie” Culmer remains adamant that she played in four games this season, and even inserted her in the game again last night, ignoring the ruling of the league. The Destroyers went on to win at the D.W. Davis Gymnasium last night, 72-59, and it remains unclear what action will be taken.
For now, there appears to be a game on Thursday night.
“A protest was lodged in reference to an ineligible player on the Bees Trucking Destroyers. That was investigated and upon checking our records, it was determined that the player did not meet the requirement,” said league commissioner Randolph “Mooch” Humes. “A three-person tribunal, of which I was a member, reached a decision to fine the team and take away one of their wins as a result of the breach of the by-laws of the women’s league. I am being advised that the player still played tonight, so all I could say is that we will meet on the matter and a decision will be made.”
Culmer said that he has proof that Joseph played in at least four games during the season, and will present it if necessary. He said that there is no need for his team to play on Thursday, but forced to play, they will show up and do so.
With the league’s ruling, the series is now tied at two games apiece. The Destroyers expected to be celebrating their second consecutive title after winning last night, but Humes said that they knew what the situation was before the game even started. Be that as it may, it appears that they have every intention of showing up for game five. If it comes down to that.
They pulled away from the young Angels in the second quarter and never looked back.
“They’re very competitive and they gave us a run for our money. We wanted to control the game and I feel like we were able to do that, and we came out on top,” said Destroyers’ power forward Shanea Armbrister.
“We knew that we had to come out here and work hard after what happened in the last game, and we did that. To have them take the last game from us was a tough one but we persevered and came out on top tonight. We have to come out and do the same thing on Thursday. Those young girls have a lot of energy and they bring it every night. We have to come out here and match their energy on Thursday night just like we did tonight. Once we do that, we should come out on top.”
Brittenique Harrison, last year’s NPWBA Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP), and Chrishanda Rahming paced the Destroyers with 14 points apiece. Harrison added 14 rebounds and four blocks. Rahming had seven rebounds and three steals. Briatae Stevens was the only player in double figures for them. She scored 10 points. Ashley Moss added nine points, a game-high 18 rebounds, dished out six assists, had four steals and blocked two shots.
The young Angels are laden with high school athletes. Ninth grade guard Denika Lightbourne led the way for them with 17 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals. Latavia Braynen added 11 points, 12 rebounds and four steals. Karolyn Baptiste scored nine points and added four rebounds and four steals, and Antonicia Moultrie scored eight and pulled down four boards.
Team spokesperson Jade Brown said that they just need to come out and play harder.
“As a team we need to come out play more team ball. This is our first time playing together so we feel like we did good to get this far, but we still have more work to do. Once we come out here and execute what we practice, I feel like we will be alright,” she said.
The game was close for the duration of the first quarter. The Angels led 19-18 after one, but the Destroyers used their experience and execution down low to pull away in the second quarter. They surged ahead 46-32 at the half, and held the young Angels at bay, taking a 63-49 advantage after three quarters. The young Angels never got to within single digits in the fourth.
The Angels will try to complete the upset by winning game five on Thursday while the Destroyers will be gunning for their second consecutive NPWBA championship title. The decisive game five is set for 8 p.m. on Thursday at the D.W. Davis Gymnasium.