BAISS Championships get underway
For the second consecutive game, the Charles W. Saunders Cougars found themselves down by double digits at the beginning of the fourth quarter, and for the second consecutive game they rallied to record a victory. They shot past the Jordan Prince William Falcons, 65-57, at the Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium last night, taking the first game of the Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools (BAISS) senior boys basketball championship series.
In the junior girls division, the Kingsway Academy Saints held off the St. Augustine’s College (SAC) Big Red Machine, 34-33, the Falcons junior boys beat SAC, 58-42, and SAC senior girls blew past the St. John’s College Giants, 49-16, in a dominant wire-to-wire win.
Saints 34, SAC 33
Andica Curtis came alive when her team needed her the most, scoring four points in the final 36 seconds of the game to help the top seeded Saints come from behind and pull off a thrilling one-point victory over SAC.
The game was back and fourth throughout, but SAC appeared to take control in the fourth, particularly late in the game. However, the Saints continued to battle. Down by three, Curtis drove through a couple defenders and dropped in a layup to pull the Saints within one. After a defensive stop, Curtis once again drove to the basket and hit another shot to give the Saints a 34-33 lead, what turned out to be the final score of the game.
SAC found themselves with a chance to win the game with 17 seconds left but came up empty on the offensive end again. The Saints got the ball back, avoided a foul, and ran the clock all the way down. Time ran out on SAC and they dropped a hurtful loss after leading by three points inside the final minute of the game.
Curtis had a game-high 20 points for the Saints. Michayla Joseph added seven and Dashante Sears dropped in five. Azarria Marshall paced SAC with 17 points and Alexis Roberts contributed nine.
SAC led 7-4 after the first quarter and 11-10 at the half. The game was tied at 23 at the end of three, and SAC led for much of the fourth before the Saints executed one last rally in the final minute of the game.
“This was a real test for us today and the girls pulled through. Now we have to come back on Wednesday and do the same thing,” said Saints’ Head Coach Tamaro Butler. “It wasn’t pretty but we got the job done. We made a lot of mistakes – missed layups and turnovers. Once we clean that up, I feel confident that we could come out on top on Wednesday.”
Game Two of the best-of-three championship series is set for Wednesday.
Falcons 58, SAC 42
The three-time defending champions Falcons broke Game One of the junior boys championship open with a 13-0 scoring run in the second quarter and never looked back, winning going away, 58-42. A relentless full court press forced a number of turnovers by SAC and that led to transition opportunities by the Falcons.
SAC guards kept trying to dribble through the press, and the few times they would pass active hands by the swarming Falcons allowed them to record a number of steals. They found themselves in the passing lanes and picked off a number of passes. A bewildered SAC team watched as the lead grew to double digits in the second quarter and they got no closer than seven points the rest of the way.
The Falcons led 18-10 after the first period and 32-22 at the half. They kept the pressure on, increasing their lead to 47-34 at the end of three. SAC failed to get within single digits in the fourth.
“It was a good performance, but we feel like it could have been better,” said Falcons’ forward Convae Smith. “There are some things that we need to clean up on. Our mindset was to come out and take command of the game early. That’s what our coach wanted us to do and I feel like we were able to do that today. We just have to come with the same mindset and the same intensity on Wednesday and we’ll be fine.”
Michael Munnings led the Falcons with a game-high 20 points. Smith added 16 and Akeem Major dropped in eight. Nathan Rolle paced SAC with 14 points and Keithro Johnson added 11.
With a win on Wednesday, the Falcons would claim a fourth straight BAISS junior boys title. Game Three, if necessary, would be played Thursday.
SAC 49, Giants 16
In a lopsided affair the St. Augustine’s College (SAC) Big Red Machine took charge early and never looked back. They led from beginning to end in a wire-to-wire performance in Game One of the senior girls championship series, winning easily 49-16.
SAC held the Giants to two points in the opening quarter en route to the dominant win. By the end of the first quarter, they were already ahead by double digits. SAC led 13-2 after one and 31-8 at the half. At the end of the third quarter, they were ahead 34-13 and they cruised in the fourth, winning by 33 points.
“They executed very well,” said SAC’s Head Coach Anastasia Sands-Moultrie. “I feel like I have a good team, but I’m always working on development. We just have to continue sharing the ball and get others involved. We coming here with the same game plan and we will close it out on Wednesday. We don’t want to go to a third game so we have to come with the same mindset and execute again.”
Junior national team standout Antonicia Moultrie, daughter of the head coach, led SAC with 19 points, 13 of which came in the fourth quarter. Teanna Gibson added 10 and Aranna Gomez and Dior-Rae Scott dropped in six apiece.
Revannah Green and Lebronique Demeritte scored five points apiece for the Giants. Geontae Simpson added four.
Game Two of the best-of-three championship series is set for Wednesday.
Cougars 65, Falcons 57
In one of the better games of the evening, the never-say-die Cougars once again battled back from down double digits in the fourth quarter. In their single elimination playoff game against the Saints, they trailed by 10 at the end of three before storing back to win by 10.
This time, the top seeded Cougars found themselves down by 12 at the end of the three quarters, and it would be the Falcons who would fall apart in the fourth. The game was pretty much close throughout, particularly in the first half. It was tied at 14 at the end of one. The Falcons appeared to take control late in the second quarter, but the resilient Cougars battled back, ending the first half on an 8-0 scoring run to take a 32-31 lead at the intermission.
The Falcons came out of the half as the aggressors, taking the game to the Cougars on both ends of the court. They scored six in a row at the start of the third quarter and stretched that lead to double digits by the end of the third, leading 52-40. However, the Cougars battled back again.
Ramon Woods came alive for the Cougars in the fourth, dropping in a pair of huge three-point shots to give them the momentum. The first one pulled the Cougars even at 53, and moments later, the second trey gave the Cougars a 57-55 lead and they never looked back. The Cougars went on to outscore the Falcons 8-2 the rest of the way, winning 65-57.
“We know we didn’t execute like we wanted to in the third quarter so we had to come back in the fourth and play the way we knew how to if we wanted to win,” said Cougars’ Head Coach Dario Burrows. “We hate that we’re a fourth quarter team but at least that means we buckle down when we need to and do the things at the right time to pull off a win. Prince Will did a great job of disrupting our game plan early on, but we hung in there and pulled it off. We have to come out on Wednesday, gain momentum early, execute better, and we’ll be fine.”
Burrows said Woods is their spark plug and he usually comes through in clutch moments for the team. He scored 23 points for the Falcons last night, 13 coming in the fourth.
“He went onto overdrive for us and put the team on his back. We needed him and he stepped up for us,” said Burrows.
Tray Clarke led the Falcons with 20 points last night, but was shut out in the fourth quarter as he went 0-for-3 from deep in that stanza. Kamari Minnis and Barkley Cadet dropped in 10 apiece.
“We got relaxed and weren’t locked in,” said Falcons’ Head Coach Ernest Saunders. “They were more hungry and it showed in the fourth quarter. Hats off to them. We have another shot at this on Wednesday so we’ll just go back to the drawing board and come back harder. We have to stay focused for all four quarters. We can’t take possessions off and lose focus. Once we do that, we’ll be fine,” he added.
Game Two of the best-of-three championship series is set for Wednesday, and if necessary, Game Three would be played Thursday.