The Ministry of Youth, Sports, and Culture’s 33rd Annual Fr. Marcian Peters Basketball Classic is into day five at the Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium, and the contenders for the titles in the various divisions are starting to come to the forefront.
The junior girls division is expected to be one of the most keenly contested – featuring a number of strong teams from the Government Secondary Schools Sports Association (GSSSA) and the Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools (BAISS). The Prince William Falcons are the defending champions in that division, and are back to defend their title, and they are expected to receive stiff competition from teams such as the H.O. Nash Lions, the Anatol Rodgers Timberwolves, the Queen’s College Comets, the St. John’s College Giants and the Kingsway Academy Saints just to name a few.
The Comets were challenged by the Freedom Baptist Warriors yesterday, and set the tone early, establishing themselves as a contender for the title. They lost to the Lions by one point earlier in the tournament but bounced back to overwhelm the Warriors yesterday, 29-12.
“In the H.O. Nash game, we were leading all the way only to lose at the end, so we needed to come out here today and have a good showing and we were able to do that. We were very strong defensively,” said Comets’ Head Coach Water House. “I’ve been watching some of the other teams and I believe we stand a good chance. We match up well with a lot of the teams and I like our chances.”
Led by their junior national team player, Denira Lightbourne, the Comets got out to an early lead yesterday and never looked back. By the end of the first quarter, they were already ahead 10-3. The Warriors never got to within five points the rest of the way.
Lightbourne had a huge double-double for the Comets with a game-high 15 points and 13 rebounds. She added four steals, one block and one assist. K’lizz Ellis was their next highest scorer with four. She added two steals, one rebound and one assist.
“Denira had a strong game for us. She’s been working hard with the team to ensure that we play at a high standard. Hopefully, we could follow her lead and get the job done,” said House. “We just want to perform at our best and hopefully we could win the championship.”
The Comets were ahead 16-8 at the half and 18-10 after three quarters. It wasn’t until the all-important fourth when they pulled away and created some distance.
“We got out to a slow start and it was hard to catch up after that because the games are so short, but overall, we are getting better and we will continue to improve,” said Warriors’ Head Coach Norleen Henfield. “As long as my girls play as a team and listen to the coach, we will be fine. I believe they could go far. It is our intention to go to the championship. Hopefully, we could achieve that.”
Celina Remy and Zoey Evans scored six points apiece for the Warriors yesterday. Remy added two steals, one rebound, one block and one assist. Evans had three rebounds.
“We could have done better if we were just playing defense like we know how to. They started to get frustrated when they weren’t making their shots but they have to learn that’s a part of the game,” said Henfielod. “I’m satisfied with how they played but they could have played a bit better.”
The classic continues today and will run through Saturday at the Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium. The playoff round will get underway on Thursday and the championships in all six divisions will be held on Saturday.