Top seeds prevail in the BAISS
Cougars come from double digits down to beat the Saints
The top seeds all came out to play on Wednesday, advancing to the basketball championships of the Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools (BAISS) at the Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium.
In the senior boys division, in particular, it wasn’t an easy task for the pennant-winning Charles W. Saunders Cougars. The Cougars found themselves down by 10 at the beginning of the first quarter, but executed a full court press on the unsuspecting Kingsway Academy Saints which forced turnovers and triggered their offense, particularly in transition.
In total, the Cougars outscored the Saints, 33-13, in the fourth to win going away. They entered the fourth trailing by 10, and ended up winning by 10, 79-69. In the senior girls division, the pennant-winning St. Augustine’s College (SAC) Big Red Machine took out the Queen’s College Comets, 48-27, the pennant-winning Jordan Prince William Falcons defeated the St. John’s College Giants in the junior boys division, 48-26, and the Saints completely derailed the Comets in the junior girls division, 31-1.
Saints 31, Comets 1
The Saints simply outclassed the Comets, winning easily to take their sudden death playoff game and book their ticket for the BAISS best-of-three championships.
The Comets got their only point in the first quarter and were already down by double digits at the end of one, 12-1. A stingy defense held the Comets scoreless in the second, third and fourth quarters. The defending champions, the Saints, led 16-1 at the half, 25-1 after three and closed the game out on a 12-0 scoring run in the fourth.
Andica Curtis paced the Saints with 16 points and Michayla Joseph added 13. Gabriella Allen scored the only point for the Comets.
“We won but I feel like we could have played a lot better,” said Saints Head Coach Tamaro Butler. “We had a lot of mistakes in the first three quarters and then they finally picked it up in the fourth. I think it was nervousness. As long as we correct those mistakes, we should be fine in the championship. We need to execute the game plan and take care of the basketball and we should be fine in the championship.”
The Saints will take on the winner of the other sudden death playoff game between the second-seeded Big Red Machine and the third-seeded Giants in a best-of-three championship series.
Falcons 48, Giants 26
An 18-0 scoring run covering the second and third quarters enabled the pennant-winning Falcons to pull away from the Giants at the Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium yesterday afternoon.
The underdog Giants battled fiercely in the first quarter but fell victim to an aggressive pressure defense from the second quarter onward and couldn’t respond. The game was tied at seven at the end of the first quarter, but the Falcons stormed ahead 23-14 at the half. They held the Giants to just two free shots in the third quarter, and went on to lead 40-16 at the end of three. The Giants never threatened the rest of the way.
Michael Munnings paced the Falcons with a game-high 25 points. Convae Smith and Emmanuel Brown dropped in five apiece. Leonardo Rolle paced the Giants with seven points, but went scoreless in the second half. Akai Miller scored all six of his points in the fourth quarter. Mario Bowleg added five.
“The guys came out sluggish, but they settled in and started playing Falcons basketball,” said Falcons Head Coach Philip Hanna. “We came in with the mentality that we’re the underdog and we’re playing every game like it’s our last. We know that whoever we face in the championship, it will be a tough battle. We’re prepared for it and ready to get to work.”
The defending champions, the Falcons, will face the winner of the other sudden death playoff game between the second-seeded Big Red Machine and the third-seeded Comets in a best-of-three championship series.
SAC 48, Comets 27
A well-oiled Big Red Machine proved to be too much for the fourth-seeded Comets in the senior girls playoff game on Wednesday.
The game was close early as the Comets trailed just 8-5 at the end of the first quarter, but the pennant-winning Big Red Machine outscored them 12-2 in the second to lead 20-7 at the half. The lead never shrunk to less than double digits the rest of the way. SAC led 34-14 at the end of three and cruised to victory in the fourth quarter.
Junior national team player Dior-Rae Scott and Antonicia Moultrie scored 17 points apiece for the Big Red Machine. Teanna Gibson added six. Ciara Bowe had 11 for the Comets and Kahlia Higgs added eight.
“Right now, we’re just taking it one game at a time. The girls have to come ready to play. Once they do that, I have no doubt that they will be able to bring home a championship,” said SAC’s Head Coach Anastasia Sands-Moultrie. “There are always things that could be worked on. Defense is always the key. We have the offense, but more than anything, we need defense. We can’t go into the championship and believe that because we are the top seed it will just come to us. We have to go out there and work for it. Once we come out with that mindset, and put in the work, we’ll be fine.”
SAC will face the winner of the other sudden death playoff game between the second-seeded Giants and the third-seeded Saints in a best-of-three championship series.
Cougars 79, Saints 69
In the most thrilling game of the evening, the pennant-winning Cougars had to battle from behind to prevent a mega upset at the Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium on Wednesday. They were caught completely off guard for much of the game as the upstart Saints showed no fear, challenging the heavily favored Cougars on almost every possession.
A 10-1 run at the end of the third quarter gave the Saints a 56-46 cushion going into the all-important fourth, but they couldn’t hold off a relentless attack by the Cougars in the fourth. The Saints led by as much as 11, and realizing that their season was on the line, the Cougars came alive in the fourth. They scored the first six points of the fourth to quickly get back in the game. By the 3:37 mark of the fourth, they reclaimed the lead with a three-point shot from the left arc by Tenaj Strachan. Strachan’s huge shot gave them a 65-62 lead at that point and they never looked back the rest of the way.
In total, Strachan scored 11 points in the fourth to lead the Cougars’ big comeback. He finished with 17 for the game.
The game was close for much of the first half with the Cougars leading 19-18 after one but falling behind 31-29 at the half. The Saints went on a tear at the end of the third and it appeared that they would record what would have been a monumental upset. However, as mentioned, the Cougars responded in the fourth.
Ramon Woods paced the Cougars with 23 points, 14 of which came in the final period as the Cougars outscored the Saints 33-13 in the fourth. Strachan finished with 17 for the Cougars and Marcian Pickstock contributed 12.
Evan Cartwright had a strong third quarter for the Saints, dropping in 16 in that period alone. He finished with a game-high 29 to lead the Saints. Kenyon Johnson had the hot hand early and finished with 14 for the Saints and Rayjin Smith was their only other player in double figures with 11. Kenaz Swane contributed nine.
“We were not at our best today – we had to fight for this game,” said Cougars Head Coach Dario Burrows. “We were sloppy in in the first half and the defense waited too long to come around. We picked it up in the fourth and we were able to come back. We still have some growing to do, but we’re getting there. We have to come here in the championship, clean up the defense, clean up the half court offense and rebound the ball. Once we do that, we will be fine.”
The Cougars will face the winner of the other sudden death playoff game between the second-seeded Big Red Machine and the third-seeded Falcons in a best-of-three championship series.
The other four playoff games will be played today at the Kendal Isaacs gym.