By Morissa Lindsay
The crown of junior basketball champions belongs to Burger King Clapham Bulls as they swept the Under-16 and Under-19 titles in the Barbados Amateur Basketball Association Summer Jam Championship finals at the Barbados Community College over the weekend.
A star performance by Under-19 Most Valuable Player Simeon Maynard with a game high 31 points in the final steered the Clapham Bulls side to a 59-54 (15-12, 31-23, 47-39) victory over the Barbados Lumber Company Lakers.
It was a fantastic night for Clapham Bulls as both of their A and B teams also reached the Under-16 final and after a keenly contested battle, it was the B side who celebrated success by one point 45-44. They led 12-9, 29-20, 36-31 in the first three quarters.
Credit to coach of the Bulls junior teams, Tehron King, for doing a great job and he thanked the parents and supporters and explained that the players had picked him as coach and he was honoured and lucky to have such a talented group of players.
King, who also had fellow coach Kelan Phillips working with him, acknowledged that his training times and hours may have been tough, but the parents fully bought into doing what was necessary to produce results and the hard work paid off with two more championships titles under his tenure as coach.
He also commended the Lakers team for being such a tough opponent, contending that there was a definite rivalry developing between the two programs. He also made special mention and thanked the Lakers coach, Derek Browne, for always getting his team prepared to do battle and because of that King felt that the Bulls were always pushed by Lakers to be better and to perform at a higher level.
In the Under-19 final, Clapham Bulls point guard Maynard led from the front with some impressive shooting and was clearly in a league above the rest as he attacked the basket strongly and played a fearless game. While the Under-19 show belonged to Maynard with his 31 points, the next best showing was ten compliments Rory Taylor.
Lakers head coach from the inception strategized to put his top scorer Khaleel Wilkinson, with 19 points, to mark Maynard. It was an exciting battle between the two as Wilkinson played adhesive defence and did not give Maynard much breathing room.
Scott Wharton accounted for 11 points for the Lakers as they fought well but had lots of defensive work to do given that Maynard by himself was a handful.
However, as the game progressed Wilkinson got tired and instead of one it turned into two and three players marking the dangerous Maynard at a time. But that did not make a difference because Maynard who plays basketball in Spain, showed his calibre as a player at this level.
Maynard, a product of Harrison College was happy with his performance in this year’s Summer Jam. “The last Summer Jam Under-16, the Caw Caws, we won with almost the same group, under a different name with the same coach, Tehron King, but I was injured so I am glad that we could come back and repeat the same thing. Every single Summer Jam I have played, I have won and I am happy for it.
“I definitely want to commend my team. As much hard work as I put in, they put in as well. I may come down on them sometimes but they did what they were supposed to do. Especially Rory Taylor, Rodston Best and Nick Thorne.”
It came down to a three-point game in the fourth quarter and while Maynard got a little scared he remained confident that the Bulls could pull it off. “At one point I got a little scared in the third. We were up something like 16 or 17 points and it came down to 10 and at one point it went to 3 points in the fourth. I told myself we aren’t losing this game, we were here to win and let’s get back in it, and we got back in it and secured the game, we did what we had to do,” he said.
A future national player in the making, Maynard credited his overseas exposure in Spain for his improvement and specially thanked his parents Owen and Petra Maynard for their continuous support.
“It (overseas) definitely helped me a lot, when I came back, I was a lot quicker and I developed a lot and my shots were far better. My defence improved and I was really grateful for the overseas exposure because it helped me a lot. My father and my mother have helped me to go on the court and shoot and go to the beach to run and to go to the gym. For the last two weeks my father has been taking me at 5 am, some crazy hours to shoot, even though he has school and I am really, really grateful for that; he even gets to work late but he says it’s ok. This is my thanks to him,” Maynard said. [email protected]