The picture has cleared up for the Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools (BAISS) basketball championships as the second day of their sudden death playoffs ended yesterday at the Anatol Rodgers High Gymnasium.
The late game between the St. Augustine’s College (SAC) Big Red Machine and the Kingsway Academy Saints senior boys had everything basketball fans could have asked for. In the end, SAC made a run with under a minute left to play and held on for a 54-53 victory. That win put SAC in the championship series in all four divisions.
The Comets dominated the Aquinas College Aces in a blowout, 73-31, on Wednesday.
The defending champions in the senior girls division, the St. John’s College Giants, trounced the Saints 49-24 to secure a spot in the senior girls championship, looking to repeat as champions. That win set up a rematch of last year’s final against SAC.
On Wednesday, SAC took advantage of the Jordan Prince William Falcons, winning easily 48-17.
The Falcons junior boys had an easy 40-32 win over the Aces yesterday, holding off a late comeback attempt by the Aces.
Also on Wednesday, SAC survived a late scare by the Comets in the junior boys division, winning 36-35.
On Thursday afternoon, the Big Red Machine junior girls won 48-34 over the Giants. That win set up a finals matchup between SAC and Kingsway in what will be a ‘Battle of Bernard Road’ series.
Kingsway junior girls held on to win 26-24 over the Falcons on Wednesday.
Championship games are set to begin at 4 p.m. on Monday at Loyola Hall on Gladstone Road.
Game two of the best-of-three championship series in all four divisions will be at the same time on Wednesday. If a game three is forced in any of the four divisions, they will be played on Thursday, February 13.
SAC 54, Saints 53
The Saints led most of the game, but it was SAC’s Aaron Sands who silenced the noisy Saints fans in the end.
Sands, who finished with 10 points in the game, came up clutch for the Big Red Machine. The guard knocked down a three-pointer from the right side with 35 seconds remaining to tie the game at 53.
After the Saints’ Ogden Aranha missed two clutch free throws with 31 seconds remaining, Sands was back on the attack, this time getting fouled with eight seconds left in the game.
With the Saints’ cowbells going off, Sands missed the first free throw as the SAC fans got tense. The second free throw went in amidst the Saints’ distraction and SAC fans erupted. Sands put his team up 54-53.
Kingsway called a timeout to talk things over and set up a final play.
The Big Red Machine was able to come out of the timeout playing tough defense. The Saints were forced down the baseline, and managed to get a last second shot off, but it was blocked into the SAC section as time expired. It was a sea of red and white on the court as fans celebrated the 54-53 victory.
Lamar Watkins had a team-high 15 points in the win.
“We just dug deep, and I told the guys we are going to win this game if you play hard,” Head Coach for SAC Jason Edwards said.
Edwards continued: “When I look back at the film, I’m sure I’m going to notice we missed a million layups – that’s uncharacteristic for us. Our jump shots and layups weren’t going in. We just came out flat tonight and sometimes that happens. All you could do is dig deep and hope the guys fight.”
The Saints dominated early in the fourth quarter, leading 48-40 with 5:27 remaining. Like Edwards said, SAC was missing easy layups and jump shots that put them in a hole. However, patience paid off for them.
Kingsway deviated from their tough defense that they had earlier in the game where they led by as much as 10 points.
Dacoda Johnson scored a game-high 21 points in the loss.
Edwards said that his team needs to stay sharp against the Comets in the championship series.
“Nothing much you can do,” Edwards said. “All we could do right now is tighten up and do something to stay sharp, but we can’t miss layups like that. That’s uncharacteristic of my team. We missed open layups all night.”
SAC made their free shots when it mattered and that took them over the top.