The C.I. Gibson Rattlers senior boys team wore down the Anatol Rodgers Timberwolves to win 63-52 and took game one in the Government Secondary Schools Sports Association (GSSSA) best-of-three basketball playoffs at the A.F. Adderley Gymnasium on Friday night.
In senior girls action, the defending champions, the Rattlers, escaped with a close 43-39 victory over the C.R Walker Knights to take a 1-0 lead in their best-of-three series.
Glennia Sands had 21 points for the Rattlers.
Adena Webster was unstoppable for the defending champions, the T.A. Thompson Scorpions, as she scored 29 points to take down the C.H. Reeves Raptors 44-17 in game one of the junior girls playoffs series.
With that win, the Scorpions are still unbeaten after sporting a perfect 7-0 win-loss record in the regular season.
Also remaining unbeaten on the season were the defending champions in the junior boys division, the D.W. Davis Royals. They took care of the Raptors 59-40 to come away from the game with one victory and hold a 1-0 advantage going into game two of their best-of-three series tomorrow afternoon.
Frank Wallace led the way for the Royals with 24 points.
All four of these playoffs series will continue tomorrow afternoon at 4 p.m..
Rattlers 63, Timberwolves 52
It was an even game at the end of the third quarter but the Rattlers went up two gears in the fourth quarter to put away the Timberwolves.
Leading the way for the Rattlers was Emaniel Alexandre with 21 points.
The game was back and forth in the first half. Every time either team tried to create some separation, the other team matched the intensity.
Kevin Thompson led his Timberwolves with 19 points.
The game was tied 27-27 at the half.
In the third quarter, the Rattlers went up by five points on an Alexandre dunk. The Rattlers led 32-27 with just over six minutes remaining in the third quarter.
The Timberwolves climbed back to take 36-34 lead later in the third quarter after Steve Shurton scored a three-pointer and converted an and-one play.
Rattlers Head Coach Kevin “KJ” Johnson said his team had some rust after a long layoff.
“Anatol came out with a very good game plan. The long layoff and we had to get rid of some rust. No excuses as we missed far too much layups, turned the ball over and we were out of sync. That happens when you had a long layoff,” Johnson said.
The Rattlers went into the final quarter with a slight 40-38 lead.
After a tie ball game at 40-40 early in the fourth quarter, the Rattlers’ big man Charles Joseph collected a pass under the rim and made the layup and was fouled. Joseph completed the and-one play to put his team up 43-40 – a lead that they never relinquished.
Alexandre caught fire and hit two three-pointers to put his team up 51-42 midway through that quarter.
With the game slipping away from them, the Timberwolves ran out of gas. They began to settle for jump shots.
Harcourt McCoy, Timberwolves head coach, acknowledged his team’s sputtering in the fourth quarter.
“In the fourth quarter, we ran out of some gas,” McCoy said. “We started shooting rather than going to the basket. Shot selection is something that comes with maturity and in the playoffs you have a short margin of error to adjust.”
Rattlers center Frederick King punctuated the victory with a dunk late in the fourth quarter.
Johnson said for game two, they need to cut down on their turnovers and bring more energy.
McCoy said his team needs to work on their free throws, rebounding and their patience for game two.
Action continues today in GSSSA playoffs action. It gets started with a junior girls matchup with the second-place H.O. Nash Lions against third-place Royals.
Following that game will be the junior boys game that well see the second-seeded Timberwolves play the third-seeded S.C. McPherson.
The second-seeded C.V Bethel Stingrays senior girls will go against the third-seeded Timberwolves.
In the senior boys game, the defending champions and second-seeded Doris Johnson Mystic Marlins take on the third seed, the C.C. Sweeting Cobras.