All hail Graydon Sealy!
What looked inevitable throughout the tournament predictably occurred this evening when the Paddock Road, St. Michael school duly won the Co-operators General Insurance-sponsored Under-16 Secondary Schools Basketball Championship, defeating Lester Vaughan 87-66, in a dominant performance at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex.
Once again it was Graydon Sealy’s Big Three of Andrew Ifill, Shaquan Newton and Amal Smith that put the game away from early in the piece. Ifill has been unstoppable during the competition and was rewarded with the tournament’s Most Valuable Player accolade as well as the finals MVP for another brilliant performance. He had 28 points and played terrifically on the defensive end of the court, constantly harassing Lester Vaughan’s main hopes in Brett Williams and Brandon Hope, though they responded admirably.
Newton led the way with 35 points and also played excellent on defence. Smith was again an imposing figure in the paint with both height and size. He was strong on both offensive and defensive boards and chipped in with 16 points.
Lester Vaughan left most of their offensive duties on the capable but overworked shoulders of Williams and Hope but they needed more offensive help which never came. They combined for 59 of Lester Vaughan’s points with Williams tallying 31 and Hope 28, but received insufficient offensive help from the likes of Kevin Briggs, Kalvin Marcus and Chris Harewood. Lester Vaughan’s defence was frequently left flat-footed and out-of-position resulting in easy, uncontested baskets for the winners.
At the half the score was 45-30 and it was clear this was a battle the Cane Garden, St. Thomas school was destined to lose. In the end the 21-point differentiation just about summed up the gulf between the two teams.
Ifill, Newton, Hope, Williams and Combermere’s Christopher Collymore were later named as the most outstanding players on show during the competition.
But in the end it was about Ifill’s awesome influence on the tournament.