Cobras overcome the Stingrays

With both the C.I. Gibson Rattlers and the Tabernacle Baptist Academy Falcons skipping this year’s Hugh Campbell Basketball Classic, the C.C. Sweeting Cobras have suddenly emerged as one of the favorites but know that they still have their work cut out for them.

The C.V. Bethel Stingrays got all they could handle from the upstart, but still prevailed, 43-37, as day two of the 37th annual tournament continued yesterday at the A.F. Adderley Gymnasium.

The Cobras were a playoff team in the Government Secondary Schools Sports Association (GSSSA) this year while the Stingrays struggled through the season, but it was hard to tell, as it was the latter who actually controlled the tempo for most of the first half. After trailing early in the game, 12-9 after one, the Stingrays increased their defensive intensity in the second quarter, pressing the ball in the backcourt, forcing turnovers and converting them into offensive opportunities in transition. In the half court game, point guard Warren Miller and two-guard Devon Taylor took turns breaking down the Cobras’ defense and either drawing fouls on the opposition or setting up their teammates for offensive opportunities.

In the first match-up between government schools in this year’s classic, the Stingrays were more aggressive early, but the Cobras took over late.

The Stingrays took a 19-14 lead with 3:48 remaining in the half and looked poised to pull off what would have been the first upset of this year’s Hugh Campbell Classic.

However, the Cobras flipped the switch when they needed to. They ended the first half on a 10-2 scoring run climaxed by a three-point shot from Christian Manace at the buzzer to give them a 24-21 lead at the break. The momentum had switched the way of the Cobras and they didn’t let go of that as the second half got underway.

The Cobras’ stifling defense disrupted the offensive rhythm as the second half got underway. They limited the Stingrays to just four points in the third quarter, stretching their lead to double digits at the end of three. 35-25. The resilient Stingrays weren’t done yet, getting as close as four points in the final minute of the game, but the Cobras picked up their defensive intensity again, and got a key layup in transition to seal the win.

“That team we could beat easily most of the time but we have to come out and play like we’re capable of playing,” said Cobras Head Coach Wayde Watson. “If we don’t come out and play hard in this tournament, we won’t be successful. We have to come out and perform and hopefully we could do a better job of that in our next game.”

Cobras captain La’Shaun Bassett scored a game-high 12 points for his team. He added four rebounds and four steals. Manace added 10 points and pulled down nine rebounds and Haywood Seymour contributed five points.

Gilverdo Bain paced the Stingrays with 10 points. Miller had nine and Donte Whyms chipped in with six.

The Cobras will go on to play in the final game Thursday night while the Stingrays will go into the loser’s bracket and play the Mt. Carmel Cavaliers in an elimination game on Thursday afternoon.

In other games yesterday, Akhepran International Academy stunned the St. John’s College Giants, winning 53-49, and the Jordan Prince William Falcons blasted the Temple Christian Suns, 61-37. The result of the late game between the Doris Johnson Mystic Marlins and the C.R. Walker Knights was unavailable up to press time.

The Grand Bahama teams and the two Family Island teams will be in action today as the 37th annual tournament continues. A total of 22 teams are playing in four pools this year.

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Sheldon Longley

Sheldon Longley joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2001 as a sports reporter. He was promoted to sports editor in 2008. Sheldon has an extensive background in sports reporting. He covered three Olympic Games and three world championships, along with multiple smaller regional and local games.

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