FREEPORT, Grand Bahama — The St. George’s Gymnasium was rocking on Sunday night as the Tabernacle Baptist Academy Falcons booked their ticket to their third straight championship game of the Bahamas National High School Basketball Championships in the senior boys division, taking down the Hugh Campbell Champions Doris Johnson Mystic Marlins. The Falcons prevailed, 67-55.
In the senior girls game at the Jack Hayward High School Gymnasium, the St. John’s College Giants took down the St. George’s Lady Jaguars, 66-47, to book their ticket to the senior girls championship game, representing the first time the program will play in the senior girls national championship game.
Michelle Butler had a double-double for the Giants with 16 points and 14 rebounds. Kyhla Shakespeare led the way for the Lady Jaguars with 12 points.
In the other senior boys game between the St. George’s Jaguars and Gateway Christian Academy Eagles, St. George’s came out on top, 76-57, and will play Tabernacle in the championship game tonight.
In the other senior girls game, the St. Augustine’s College (SAC) Big Red Machine took down the C.I. Gibson Lady Rattlers, 42-26, and will meet St. John’s in a rematch of the Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools (BAISS) championship series, in the championship game of the high school nationals this evening.
Falcons 67, Mystic Marlins 55
Joshua Dames scored a game-high 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Falcons to lead them to victory. He had 10 of those 21 points in the first half.
Falcons’ Head Coach Kevin Clarke praised Dames’ leadership.
“Joshua (Dames) is our leader through the good and the bad. He has his moments and he could be a little bit emotional but through the whole season he has been our leader. Once he brings it out there it is hard to stop him. I told him once he gets the team in the game, we are a better team and that is what he has been focusing on,” Clarke said.
The Falcons jumped out to an early 9-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Malachi McCoy, the cog in the Mystic Marlins’ wheel, was in early foul trouble, picking up two quick fouls in the first quarter. Coach Denykco Bowles of Doris Johnson went with McCoy early in the second quarter, but McCoy picked up his third foul, and Bowles had no choice but to take him out the game.
“We wanted to put the pressure on the big man. We know that he is a force in there, we wanted to pack it in. If they were going to beat us, we wanted them to beat us from the outside with the perimeter shot and we didn’t want McCoy to be the one to beat us tonight. We did a good job on him, containing him and that was a part of us winning the game,” Clarke said.
Richard Lowe stepped up to the plate and helped to keep the Mystic Marlins in the game in the first half, scoring six points and grabbing three rebounds in place of McCoy. Lowe ended the game with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
The Falcons went into the half with a 30-24 lead.
The Falcons ran away from the Mystic Marlins in the third; they took a comfortable nine-point lead at the end of the third quarter.
The Mystic Marlins had no answer for the Falcons in the fourth. They went 1-for-9 from three-point territory and couldn’t get enough going down low.
The Mystic Marlins won the Government Secondary Schools Sports Association (GSSSA) title earlier this year, and a few weeks after that, they won the Hugh Campbell title in dramatic fashion, but couldn’t complete the trifecta and take home the national title.
Bowles said: “Hats off to both teams. My guys played exceptionally hard. We have nothing to hang our heads down about. It feels pretty good and of course we would have liked to be on the winner’s side. Tabby played a good game. We will regroup and we will be back next year. We had a remarkable year and we have nothing to hang our heads down about.”
Tabernacle had their largest lead of the game, 17, early in the fourth quarter as they led 57-40 to put the game out of reach.
The Falcons’ Travaughn Alleyne threw down a dunk in the fourth quarter that brought the crowd to their feet.
The game was evenly matched on the glass as both teams had 43 rebounds. The Falcons forced 21 turnovers and converted them into 20 points.
Clarke said he has no game plan for the final game tonight, and will just have his boys ready to play.
Earlier in day four action on the senior boys side, the Mystic Marlins took down the Jack Hayward High School Wildcats, 49-37. In another game, the Jaguars advanced with a 52-42 win over the Sunland Baptist Academy Stingers.
Janus Shepherd scored a game-high 18 points for the Mystic Marlins in that win, and Jaythan Belle chipped in with 15. Half of Shepherd’s points came from beyond the three-point arc.
For the Wildcats, Dorrell Duncombe scored a team-high 12 points in the loss.
Both teams had a slow start to the game as the Mystic Marlins were up 13-11 at the half.
The Mystic Marlins made a push in the third quarter as they went up 25-19 with 1:54 left in that period.
By the end of the third quarter, the Mystic Marlins were ahead 30-24.
In the fourth quarter, the Mystic Marlins went on an 8-0 scoring run early to go ahead 38-24 and put the game away to book their ticket into the Pool A championship game against the Falcons.
Over in Pool B action, the Jaguars had three players in double figures – Shavaul Butters (12), Samuel Pinder (11) and Paul Greene (11), to defeat the Stingers.
For the Stingers, Oswald Meadows scored a game-high 13 points in the loss.
It was a back-and-forth first quarter as no team led by more than three points. It was the home team that held on to a slim 11-10 lead at the end of the quarter.
The Stingers took a 14-11 lead with 4:30 remaining in the second quarter. They held a three-point lead at the half, 25-22, looking to upset the home team.
It was not long after that Coach Darrell Sears rallied the Jaguars. They played a better third quarter, taking a 38-32 lead at the end of the period.
The Stingers battled back to tie the game at 40 when Delano Lewis made a jump shot with 3:55 remaining.
The Jaguars increased the tempo as they went on 9-0 run to put the game out of the Stingers’ reach. They led 49-40 lead with just over a minute remaining.
They held that lead, winning 52-42, and advanced to play the Eagles in the Pool B championship game.
Over at the Jack Hayward Gymnasium where the senior girls were battling for a chance to advance to the pool championship, the St. George’s Lady Jaguars sent the C.V. Bethel Stingrays packing as they won, 43-35.
Kendi Outten led the way for the Lady Jaguars, scoring a game-high 14 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Wilgianna Toussant chipped in with 11 points.
D’Shante Cooper had 12 points to lead her team in the loss.
The Lady Jaguars set themselves up for a match-up against the St. John’s College Giants for a chance to play for the national title.
After that game, St. Augustine’s College booked their ticket in the pool championship game when they took down the Bishop Michael Eldon School Lady Warriors, 49-43.
For the winners, Antonicia Moultrie had a huge double-double, scoring a team-high 23 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. Karolyn Baptiste scored 12 points for SAC.
Myah Greene dropped in a game-high 31 points in the loss. She was the only Lady Warriors player in double digits.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism