Next Generation Green Monkeys and Kolij Lions are the two top teams in this year’s Barbados Amateur Basketball Association’s Summer Jam Under-16 Competition, but who will be champions is a tale still to be told.
As a matter of fact, the new kings will be determined Thursday evening when the final takes place at the Barbados Community College (BCC) after Next Generation dethroned Young Men’s Christian Association Wild Cats 60-54 (12-4, 27-21, 46-41) and Kolij edged Pinelands by a mere point 70-69 Tuesday night at the Barbados Community College.
Both Wild Cats and Pinelands, last year’s finalists, were knocked out, giving newcomers Next Generation and Kolij a chance to lift the trophy.
Khalil Austin registered a top score of 17 points for Next Generation, coached by former national captain and shooting guard Zahir Motara. Kurt Lambert was just as impressive as he netted 16, Kyron Alexander produced 11 before departing via the foul out route and Anthony Maynard with a contribution of six points joined him on the bench shortly afterwards.
Next Generation forced a number of turnovers and boxed out Wild Cats when it came down to crunch time to steal any hope Carlos Moore and his boys had of reaching another final. Despite the loss Krishna Quintyne played well for 18 points, Kemar Benn had a total of 11 and Tamir Weekes contributed nine.
The next semifinal contest was one that went right down to the very end but when the adrenaline settled it was Kolij who stole Pinelands joy. In the final quarter, Pinelands led 69-68 against Kolij who were on the verge of losing by a point when Miguel Gibson shot a two-pointer with a matter of seconds on the clock for the win.
Pinelands led the first two-quarters 23-22 and 39-37 before Kolij fought their way back in the third to tie the scores 53-53, which shaped up the fourth and decisive quarter to be a competitive one between two of the strongest teams in the competition. But Gibson turned up as the hero and sealed the deal for Kolij.
Brandon Ruck tallied 19 for Kolij while ten points each came from Chikosi Boardi and Joshua Franklyn. Credit, however, to Carl Thorpe for turning up with a massive 27 points for Pinelands along with 24 from Deroni Hurley, the younger brother of Deron who plays for Orange Three Pinelands and 13 from Michael Tannis.