There will be new titleholders of the Massy United Insurance- sponsored National Sports Council’s Under-19 Basketball League Competition this year.
Defending champions Combermere gave it their best shot but lost a keenly contested semifinal battle to number one seeds Christ Church Foundation, 63-62, at the Barbados Community College on Saturday.
That was the first of two semifinal games. Last year’s losing finalists, Harrison College, gave themselves yet another opportunity at the title under coach Dario McCollin by registering a nail-biting 63-61 victory over Queen’s College.
Both semifinal matches were extremely competitive and the respective score lines speak for themselves. Harrison College trailed Queen’s College 19-21, 30-32 and 42-47 at the end of the first three quarters. The scores were then tied 61-61 with 40 seconds on the scoreboard and Queen’s College prior to that were in a perfect position to lead Harrison College. But disappointingly for the lads from Husbands, St James, Rasheed Arthur and Kareem Straker both missed their respective free throws down the stretch.
In the game’s crunch time the teams needed to at least make a steal or hope that referees Gillian Martindale or Shakira Shorey called a foul in their favour. And with the crowd fully engaged, former champions Harrison College earned themselves ball possession and point guard Raphael Howard netted a layup for the winners. Howard ended the game with only seven points but delivered when it mattered most for the lads from Crumpton Street.
Christian Holder top-scored with 20 points for Harrison College, the second highest individual tally came from Zachary Nowell with 15, Christopher Holder had nine points and there were six points contributed by Joshua Lowe.
Queen’s College failed to capitalize on their chances especially those vital free throws that should have been put away. Omar Jordan shot 14, Makaari Jones had 13 while Kieron Savoury and Kareem Straker each netted ten points for Queen’s.
The opening semifinal match was just as thrilling. Foundation led the first three quarters, 15-13, 28-25 and 47-46 over Combermere. The scoreboard operator was kept quite busy as the scores remained extremely close and kept ticking over constantly.
Both teams were evenly matched but Foundation, captained by shooting guard Shaquan Carrington, kept the edge throughout even if it was by just one point.
Carrington ended with a game-high 21 points, Dominic Jarvis had 13 and there were ten points from Kahmal Payne. Meanwhile David Walkes and Theo Greenidge scored 15 each and Jamon Philip had 13 for Combermere.
The pressure was so much on that Krishna Quintyne of Combermere committed a cardinal error when he scored in his own basket causing coach Mark Jones to sub him for the remainder of the game and brought on Lamar Springer.
The defining moment of the match came just under 20 seconds when the scores were tied 62-62 and Foundation won two free throws which were taken by Carrington who managed to put away one of them which would ultimately seal the game and a final spot for the number one seeds.
The final is scheduled for Saturday, February 4 at BCC.