The Bahamas finishes sixth at Centrobasket
After a promising start to the Centrobasket Under-17 Girls Championship with a convincing win over El Salvador, Team Bahamas had to settle for sixth place after a 73-50 loss to Costa Rica at the historic Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Thursday.
The team suffered a tough 65-64 loss to Guatemala on Tuesday to fall out of medal contention, and then returned to the court on Wednesday on Independence Day and trounced Barbados, 83-41.
In the fifth-sixth place game against Costa Rica, center Michelle Butler and guard Antonicia Moultrie led the way for The Bahamas with 12 points apiece. Butler added nine rebounds and Moultrie finished with eight rebounds.
Varel Clarke-Davis, head coach of Team Bahamas, said that the competition was very intense, and with more experience, the Bahamian girls will be able to compete better at this level.
“They have to develop and grow in the game of basketball itself. I think that at this age, they are still learning and have room to learn, and that plays a very big factor in playing against teams that play year round. Our girls only play a certain part of the year in The Bahamas, so we need to have more games to have our girls at this level of play,” she said.
Clarke-Davis said she was of the belief that this team had a great chance of winning a medal in this competition, but a few lapses prevented that from happening.
Costa Rica’s Ariana Mora led all scorers with 19 points and added 13 rebounds yesterday.
Team Bahamas came out aggressively, and led 7-4 on a Denika Lightbourne lay-up with 8:05 to go in the opening quarter.
The Costa Ricans tied the game at seven with 7:35 to go in the opening quarter on a Mora lay-up. That sparked a 17-2 run for the Costa Ricans and they never looked back. The Bahamas never recovered. The first quarter ended 24-9 in favor of the Costa Ricans.
The Bahamian team tried to cut into the lead, but it was a tough afternoon for them. They shot 21 percent from the field, including just 9.1 percent from three-point territory. Team Bahamas finished 1-for-11 from downtown.
At half-time, the Costa Ricans were up by 20 points, 42-22. Team Bahamas came alive a bit in the fourth quarter but it was too little too late. Costa Rica ended the third quarter up 62-35.
In the fourth quarter, The Bahamas outscored their opponents 15-11, but the lead was too insurmountable to overcome.
The Bahamas out-rebounded Costa Rica, 54-53, including a 29-20 offensive rebounding edge, and had seven blocks compared to two for Costa Rica, but they fell down in almost every other facet of the game.
This was the final game for Team Bahamas. They finished sixth out of eight teams.
The team showed that The Bahamas has a bright future in female basketball, and with more experience they can get to the next level.
Next up for the Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF) is the Centrobasket Under-17 Boys Championship set to take place at the same gym in San Juan, Puerto Rico, from July 24-29, 2019.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism