The basketball kings of Waterford captured the National Sports Council’s Massy United Insurance Senior League tournament title by a five-point margin, 69-64, over Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute (SJPI) this afternoon at the Wildey Gymnasium.
After a delayed start due to unforeseen circumstances with the basketball rings, the long-awaited final got underway and the contest was tied at 12-12 after the opening quarter. But Combermere shifted gears and dominated the second and third stanzas to lead 30-22 and 48-42 before going on to lift the trophy.
Combermere have a strong attack of national youth players who can all step up at crucial times. And today was the turn of point guard and final’s Most Valuable Player David Walkes with the second best score of 16 points in the game behind the 18 scored by Kiserian Adams. Walkes was exceptional on defence as well, tallying up a number of steals and accounting for quite a few assists.
Speaking after the match, Walkes, a member of Barbados Lumber Company Lakers’ youth programme, said there was never a doubt Combermere would be victorious and credited team work for their success.
“I had faith in us from the time the season start, and we should have won it all [knock out] this season but can’t change what has already been. But we fought hard and truly deserve it. We had to fight hard because they weren’t giving us anything easy,” Walkes said.
Despite a game high 27 from Renico ‘Piggy’ Brewster and a supporting 25 from captain Maynard, the only two to reach double figures for SJPI, it simply was not enough to deny Combermere and their coach Stuart Mayers a well-earned victors’ medallion.
It was indeed a collective effort by the Combermere side and along with Walkes and Adams, Maakari Jones totalled 12 points, Nicholas Hoyte and Tariq Inniss both netted ten points each.
At half-time it was still too close to call even though Combermere had an eight point lead (30-22). But Combermere were further in the driver’s seat in no time thanks to Hoyte who started off that period on fire, nailing two consecutive three pointers and Inniss joined in on the fun for a three point shot of his own.
That further cushioned the lead for Combermere at 39-24 but as quickly as they began to build momentum it began to subside. Maynard and Brewster carried SJPI on their shoulders in the third quarter offensively and even had their moments of fame especially the big guy Brewster with a dribble, fake and a leap between two defenders to make a successful basket. That was the play of the match and the fans loved every moment of it.
That 15-point lead that Combermere had went through the door when SJPI managed to cut the deficit by six (42-48) heading into the fourth and decisive period. One of SJPI’s downfalls was the fact that they did not get back fast enough on the breaks but they improved in that department and managed to trail by one point (49-50) four minutes into the fourth quarter.
But just when things were looking positive for SJPI they mishandled a number of passes and then they lost Jadon Springer who collected his fifth foul and this just about sank any chances of them coming out victorious over Combermere.
The tournament’s most valuable player went to Deroni Hurley of St Leonard’s Boys’ who was one of the five most outstanding players this season. In addition to Hurley, three of his other Pinelands Future basketball teammates, Rasheed Maynard playing for SJPI today, Rashad Hall of The Lodge School and Kiserian Adams of the victorious Combermere team were also recognized along with Deveron Knight of the St Michael School.