Christ Church Foundation emerged victorious 74-67 over the St Michael School to capture the Wanda Agard-Belgrave National Sports Council’s Girls Basketball League Championship yesterday evening at the Barbados Community College.
They were rivals just last month at the Barbados Secondary Schools Athletics Championship (BSSAC) held at the National Stadium. Last evening that euphoria was relived to an extent with supporters from both teams being fully involved.
The St Michael School led 16-12 and 29-28 in the opening half but lost their edge in the penultimate stanza and trailed 51-47 to the Church Hill girls who found some momentum and eventually went on to win by seven points after a very competitive fourth and decisive quarter.
One of Foundation’s trump cards was point guard and the final’s Most Valuable Player Stephian Shepherd who had a top score of 18 points inclusive of two three-pointers.
Speaking after the match, Shepherd expressed her delight at winning saying she came into the match feeling confident, knowing it was theirs to win against a strong St Michael School line-up.
“Coming into the final our game plan was to hold the ball and attack the basket more rather than take jump shots and that plan worked,” Shepherd said.
Explaining how nervous she felt having fouled out in the fourth quarter, Shepherd said: “Only after I fouled out I was worried that they [Foundation] would let them catch back up because they weren’t holding onto the ball, but we held on.”
The other main contributors were Tatyana Waldron registering 17 points along with a contribution of 13 from Chante Moore. Donne Clarke had ten points on the scoreboard, Quantya Rudder tallied eight and Romancia Odwin had six before fouling out in the fourth quarter.
It was a keenly contested affair straight into the fourth quarter with the scores being tied 65-65 when Shepherd nailed a three-point shot to give Foundation the advantage at 68-65.
St Michael point-guard Zarah Ashby responded with a two-point shot to cut the deficit by one at 67-68 but by then the fat lady had started to clear her throat as Foundation kept ball possession and went on to score the next six points for the win just before referee Gillian Martindale sounded her whistle to signal the end.
League most valuable player Tower Lorde was outstanding for the St Michael School with a game-high 28 points in a losing cause. Ashby scored 16, Xhane Greenidge tallied eight and Alesha Squires netted six, to be the main scorers for the girls from Martindale’s Road.
Three of the top five most outstanding players hailed from the St Michael School and they were Lorde, Ashby and Squires, while the other two were Shepherd and Amanda Knight of Queen’s College.
Last year Foundation made it as far as the quarterfinal which they lost to Springer Memorial and coach Ianthum Alleyne said since that time, Foundation made a vow to lift the championship in 2018.
Compared to 2017 when they only had six players, Foundation recruited several girls which paid off for them in the end despite not having sufficient time to practise.
“Most of the girls had lessons after school and I would have like three, four, five players at a time on evenings. But we got a lot of practice sessions in the last two weeks for this game [final], so we did make a lot of progress for this final,” Alleyne said while noting that he was confident that the championship could be theirs having lost just one match during the regular season which was against the St Michael School.