Harrison College showed it was no fluke when they clinched both the knockout and league title from Graydon Sealy to be double crown champions of the 2016 National Sports Council Co-operators General Insurance-sponsored Under-16 Basketball competition.
After winning the knockout final last Thursday against rivals Graydon Sealy, the lads from Crumpton Street went on a mission against said opponents Saturday evening in the league final where they won 61-46 after dominating the first three quarters 22-12, 35-17 and 50-31, on the way to capturing their first ever double crown win at this level in the presence of principal Juanita Wade.
The final’s MVP went to Akobi Forde of Harrison College who jointly top scored with 12 points with Jaiden Walker. Other contributors were Ajanni Searles scoring eight and Kyron Alexander, seven.
Brandon Ruck was the only player to reach double figures with 14 for Graydon Sealy in what was a one-sided affair. Harrison College were up by ten points at the end of the first quarter and they were so good on defence that in the second period the lads from Graydon Sealy only managed to net a mere five points that allowed Harrison to extend their lead 35-17 at half time.
One of Graydon Sealy’s downfalls in both finals has been their defence and Harrison College’s shooters had sufficient space to make easy baskets throughout. A perfect example was at the start of the third quarter when Simeon Maynard shot a three-pointer followed by two to take his team to 40 points.
Another positive Harrison College had going for them was the fact that they kept their hands up in preparation for anything that passed their way and they made several steals which was something their opponents failed to do.
Graydon Sealy eventually reached 21 points with respective twos from Shaw and Renaldo Simmons who ended the game with six points. This stage of the game saw several turnovers especially from Graydon Sealy.
Arrio Pope, the tallest player on court for Graydon Sealy, played a crucial role at this stage of the game when Shaw missed a shot and Pope was in place to put away the rebound easily. The score line now read 46-25 when Forde and Joshua Franklyn netted two points each to double Harrison College’s lead with under a minute to play.
Graydon Sealy ensured that by the time the penultimate quarter ended they reached 31 points, compliments of Simmons with a three-pointer, two free throws and a free-throw from Anthony Steele to cut the deficit by 19.
The fourth and decisive quarter would have taken something special from Graydon Sealy if they stood a chance of winning but it was a very big ask even though at 58-38 they managed to score seven straight points to take their tally to 45. Harrison College knew they had the trophy in the palm of their hands and at 58-45 with fewer than five seconds on the board Kyron Alexander nailed a long range three-pointer on the buzzer to finish the final in grand style.
Coach of the victorious team, Dario McCollin, said he was satisfied with the way his team played throughout the competition and that it was always wonderful when hard work paid off.
“The guys did what we have been practicing, like squaring up to the basket, pivoting, dribbling, not jumping to pass, moving into spaces, working, playing as a team, even maintaining discipline. So I am pleased with what I have seen from them throughout the tournament,” McCollin said.
He explained the level of training and hard work that went into preparing for the tournament.
“The guys will take a break for now and then start training again in the summer from Monday, Wednesdays and Friday. [They will be] doing running, strength work, hard court drills such as shooting straight, through first and second term and then in the third term we will focus more on fundamential stuff,” he said.
While McCollin was smiling on one end of the court, Graydon Sealy coach Sean Jones was feeling disappointed after losing the grip on both finals. He told Barbados TODAY defence was a key area of the game that they pride themselves on and that proved to be their downfall this year.
“When we made the final I was actually shocked but very happy and I don’t see it as a loss, I see it as a step in the right direction to be back next year,” said Jones, who promised to be back even stronger next year.
The season’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) award went to Deroni Hurley of St Leonard’s Boys who was most deserving of the award after scoring more than 44 points in each game he played for his school.
There were other awards and prizes that went to skills champion Daryl Jordan and long shot champion Anthony Maynard both of The Lodge School. The Cosmo Edwards Trophy went to St Leonard’s Boys in the Northern zone and Graydon Sealy of the Southern zone. Outside of Hurley and Forde there were three other outstanding players of the tournament and they were Brandon Ruck and Makahya Shaw of Graydon Sealy and Miguel Gibson of Deighton Griffith.