By Morissa Lindsay
The Barbados Community College (BCC) made good use of homecourt advantage when they won an absolutely thrilling game 52-49 against their South Zone rivals the St. Michael School (SMS), in the ongoing National Sports Council (NSC) Schools Basketball Competition yesterday.
Led by their point guard Rory Taylor with a game high 16 points and eight of those scored in the third quarter, BCC came from two quarters down 10-17, 23-27 to take the lead 41-37 during the first three stanzas of the Under-19 encounter, before eventually battling to victory.
Two other players registered double digits with 11 points for BCC, Michael Walkes and Antoine Winters who eventually fouled out of the game. Tristan Yarde with his size and ability at this level also played a major role for BCC inside the paint as he contributed eight points to the total along with five from Scott Wharton.
Led by top premier league coach Adrian Craigwell, BCC’s victory was due to great defence inside the paint where Yarde and Winters played a huge factor with their height and being able to secure possession comfortably.
BCC so far are unbeaten in school’s basketball and SMS coached by Kodia Leacock came into the match hoping to break that winning momentum. While the lads from Martindale’s Road did an excellent job at the beginning to capture the lead, they were unable to maintain the advantage when the third quarter commenced.
The St. Michael School held a seven point lead (17-10) at the end of the first quarter and were up by four points 27-23 at halftime but once again BCC’s defence was locked in and tried their best to intercept wherever possible.
BCC were first to get off the mark at the start of the third quarter when Taylor nailed a two-point jump shot. It was at that moment BCC sought to turn the game in their favour and took the lead. The lanky lad Winters scored an easy layup and gave BCC the lead 31-28 and from there on forced SMS to play catch-up.
Unfortunately for SMS their center Noah DePaul who registered 15 points got injured after being struck in his mouth and had to come off the court, missing vital minutes. Thankfully, it was not too severe and he was able to return to play later.
SMS, despite trailing, tried their best to keep up with BCC and point guard Aaron Massiah who is also a junior national track and field athlete announced his presence on the court. Massiah showed that he is small but as the Jamaicans would say Tallawah when he delivered an unbelievable three-point shot from distance, followed by a layup which resulted in five straight points for him in the third quarter.
The other contributors for SMS were Gaskin with 13 points and Joel Lord tallied 11 and both of them accounted for two buckets each from beyond the arc. Isaiah Clarke added three and Israel Bryan two to the total.
Despite showing great resistance, SMS still were unable to regain the lead they had earlier on in the first half of the game and they trailed BCC by four points heading into the fourth and decisive quarter.
Yarde started with a layup for BCC but SMS quickly responded when Lord grabbed hold of a good pass from Gaskin and nailed a three-pointer followed by a layup from DePaul to cut the deficit by one (43-42). BCC had no choice at this stage of the match but to call a timeout.
On resumption the battle continued and Lord put away his second three of the game and as the quarter progressed eventually the scores were tied 47-47 as the two teams refused to go down without a fight. BCC however went ahead 50-47 with two minutes and 18 seconds left in the game. It was also at this stage of the game that Winters of BCC fouled out.
SMS felt they were still in with a chance especially when DePaul along with Gaskin both put away one point each from their respective free throws. But at 50-49 in favor of BCC both teams looked to play strong defence and in the end it was the host that went on to win when Yarde scored the layup.