It was not a dominant performance by the defending Hugh Campbell Basketball Champions, the Doris Johnson Mystic Marlins, but it was enough to down the C.R. Walker Knights 36-28 as they began their quest to repeat yesterday afternoon in the 38th Hugh Campbell Basketball Tournament at the A.F. Adderley Gymnasium.
In the second game of the day, the Gateway Christian Academy Eagles out of Bimini were victorious in their efforts as they turned back the Mt. Carmel Cavaliers 53-49.
Mystic Marlins 36, Knights 28
After safely defending their Government Secondary School Sports Association (GSSSA) championship they were back in action in their first game in Pool 1.
They had to do it without big man and GSSSA Championship Most Valuable Player (MVP) Richard Lowe. Lowe is ineligible to play in this tournament.
Head coach of the Mystic Marlins, Denycko Bowles, said he has other players who just have to go out there and play.
“He is definitely a key player for us, but we have other players that [are] willing to step up. They just have to go out there and just play. It is a team effort and one man don’t define this team. Mystic Marlins basketball is a total team effort,” Bowles said.
Joshua Burrows was tough to defend down the stretch especially as he finished with a game high 15 points in the win.
After the Knights opened the game up 3-0, the Mystic Marlins went on an 11-3 run starting in the first quarter and finishing early in the second quarter.
The Mystic Marlins went into the half up 13-10.
The Knights did not go away that easily as they tied the game at 16-16 in the third period.
Burrows gave the Marlins back the lead on a layup with 3:30 remaining. He extended that lead to 19-16 on a made free throw.
At the end of the period, the Marlins held a slim 27-23 lead.
The Mystic Marlins pulled away in the final three minutes as they went on a 7-3 run to end the game as the Knights was unable to execute down the stretch.
“We had good energy for the most part of the game. It is a different game, a different tea and a different ball game and different tournament. The guys just have to be ready to play every single day. Coming out of a championship, everybody will come at you and bring their A game because they want to beat the champs,” Bowles said.
Head coach of the Knights, Dastyn Baker, said his guys didn’t execute at the end of the game.
“At the end of the game, my boys didn’t execute. My boys had the game but we had some bad turnovers and we had about two possessions where we did not [have] a shot attempt. That cost us the game in the end.”
Leading the way for the Knights was Kemron Gray with nine points and three assists. No Knights were in double figures in scoring.
Even without Lowe, the Mystic Marlins were able to outrebound the Knights 34-14.
The Marlins’ next opponent was unknown at press time. The Knights will play the R.M. Bailey Pacers this morning at 10 a.m.
Eagles 53, Cavaliers 49
Despite touching down yesterday morning, the Eagles were able to hold off the Cavaliers to start off the tournament on a winning note in a controversial Pool 4.
Leading the way for the winners was Valdez Edgecombe with a double-double as he net a team high 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Chester McPhee chipped in with 10 points and five rebounds.
It was a sluggish start for the Eagles as the Cavaliers were up 14-13 at the end of the first quarter.
The Eagles went on a 12-0 run to start the second quarter and go up 25-14. That run included four steals that resulted in eight points from turnovers. They finished the game with 16 steals and 20 points from turnovers.
Head coach of the Eagles, Gilbert Rolle Jr., said that he told his team to put pressure on defense.
“I told the guys let’s put on a little pressure on the defense,” Rolle said. “At first, we were just sitting in the zone, so we pressed them a little bit and got some turnovers and got a little cushion.”
That little cushion proved to be enough for his team. They went into the intermission up 32-21.
After a 47-37 lead midway through the fourth quarter, the Eagles started to lose grip of the game. Rolle attributed it to his team’s fatigue down the stretch.
“Towards the end, I could have [seen] that the guys’ legs weren’t quite there so hopefully tonight we get some rest and we play [better] tomorrow night. Hopefully we’ll play a little bit more crisp,” Rolle said.
The Cavaliers ended the game on a 12-6 run, but it was not enough as the Eagles hung on for the win.
Shemer Easy finished with a game-high 22 points for the Cavaliers. He had a lot of help from big man Antanel Pierre who finished with a game-high 17 boards and 11 points.
Rolle said that he wanted to play the C.I. Gibson Rattlers and the Tabernacle Baptist Falcons, the two teams that were in Pool 4 but pulled out.
He thanked God for the victory and thinks that they will put on a good performance for the rest of the tournament.
The opponents for the Eagles and the Cavaliers were not available at press time.
Action gets underway in the tournament today with the first session starting at 10 a.m. The second session starts at 2 p.m. and the third session gets underway at 7 p.m.