It was celebration time for the Commonwealth Bank (CB) Giants this past weekend, as they are now back-to-back New Providence Basketball Association (NPBA) Division I Champions. They took down the pesky PJs Stingers, 87-82, to win their best-of-seven championship series at the A.F. Adderley Gymnasium on Friday night. The Giants won the series four games to one.
In division two, the Breezes High Flyers came back from a 17-point deficit to win 111-102 over the Your Essential Store (YES) Giants in Friday night action. The High Flyers went up three games to two in their best-of-seven championship series. The YES Giants returned the favor a day later to tie the series at three games apiece, taking down the High Flyers, 92-65, to set up a crucial game seven tonight. That game will get underway at 8.30 p.m.
CB Giants 87, Stingers 82
The Commonwealth Bank Giants controlled the fourth quarter to take down the PJs Stingers 87-82 and lift the NPBA Division I trophy on Friday night. They won the series 4-1. They have also booked their ticket to the 2019 Bahamas Basketball Federation’s (BBF) Rudy “Bunny” Levarity National Round Robin Tournament, set to be played Thursday, April 11 to Saturday, April 13.
D’Shon Taylor scored a game-high 22 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out four assists for the Giants. Jackson Jacob added 17 points and four assists.
Taylor erupted for 37 in game four and 22 in game five, but said he doesn’t go into a game planning to score a lot of points.
“I don’t go into the game looking to score a high volume. We took advantage of the mismatch. There may be times when I have a mismatch, or my other teammates, and then we decide to exploit it. We have one goal which is to win every game and every possession, hoping to come out as champions at the end of the season. I put in enough work where scoring has become natural for me. My teammates do a good job in helping me pick my spots,” Taylor said.
Eugene Bain was one assist shy of a triple-double as he led the way for his Stingers. He finished the game with 20 points, 12 boards and nine dimes. Salathiel “Donkey” Dean recorded a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
The Stingers jumped out to a quick 17-10 lead, but a 9-2 scoring run by the Giants tied the game at 19 at the end of the first quarter.
The game remained close in the second quarter. They were five ties in that frame. The largest lead was six by the Giants with 8:01 remaining in the quarter.
It was a three-point advantage to the Giants at the half, 48-45.
The Giants had their largest lead of the game of eight points with 8:48 remaining in the third quarter, 53-45.
Coming down to the end of the third quarter, the Stingers took their first lead of the quarter on a three-pointer by Vernon Stubbs. That shot put them up 64-62 with 2:45 remaining in the third.
At the end of the quarter, the Stingers led 65-62.
The Giants trailed for most of the fourth quarter but took the lead with a little over a minute left on Jacob’s jump shot. That put the Giants up 84-82.
For the final two minutes of the game, the Stingers failed to score a point. The Giants proved why they were the three-time defending champions.
The final score was 87-82 in favor of the Giants.
Taylor thanked his coaching staff who ensures that his teammates know their roles.
After booking a spot in the nationals, Taylor said he expects his team to come out with the same mentality. He knows that his team is not invincible as they have lost one game this season. He said they will be ready to defend their national title.
YES Giants 92, High Flyers 65
With their backs against the wall, the Your Essential Store (YES) Giants took down the High Flyers 92-65 to even their best-of-seven championship series at three games apiece. The decisive game seven is set for tonight.
The Giants scored 30 points off of their opponents’ 28 turnovers in the victory.
Cormardo Seymour led his team with a double-double, scoring a game-high 25 points and pulling down a game-high 18 boards. Also picking up a double-double for the Giants was Adrian Thompson with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Thompson also finished with five dimes.
For the High Flyers, Shantoin Pratt had a decent stat line, finishing with a team-high 19 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
The Giants wasted no time in putting their footprints on this game as they led 18-15 by the end of the first quarter, and really pulled away in the second.
A 26-12 advantage in the second quarter put the Giants up 44-27 at the break. On Friday night in game five, the High Flyers were down by 12 at the half. They came back and won that game 111-102 in overtime.
The Giants ensured that the High Flyers did not stage a comeback this time. They outscored them 26-15 in the third quarter, putting the game out of reach, going up 70-42, at the end of three.
In the fourth quarter, the Giants held off the High Flyers to win 92-65.
Arison Wilson, coach of the Giants, said after Friday night’s loss that his guys had a talk about what they needed to do in game six, and they did it.
“We talked it out. They know what they did wrong. If we’re composed, manage our time with the ball, make better shots, less turnovers and stick with our defensive plan, we can win,” he said. “One of our game plans was to box out more because we wanted to take advantage of the rebounds and knowing that we have our players coming off the bench, they give more energy on that.”
Wilson said that the High Flyers is a championship team and his team has to respect that and come out playing hard in game seven.
Pratt said his team cannot come out flat tonight. He further said that they need to get more rebounds and also need to box out.
Game seven promises to be an exciting one as no team won two straight games in the series. The Giants will look to be the first team to win two straight games.
The winner will represent the NPBA in the division two play at the BBF national tournament.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism