By Morissa Lindsay
Barbados Community College (BCC) did what they set out to do and won the 2022 National Sports Council Under-19 Schools Basketball competition 80-67 against the St. Michael School (SMS) this evening at the Garfield Sobers Gymnasium.
Led by the finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) Joshua Harvey with a game high 21 points, BCC kept their composure in the fourth and final stanza of the match to ensure they lift the title after the scores were 15-13, 38-30 and 55-55 in the first three quarters.
Champion coach Adrian Craigwell said that while the standard was not of the highest, he was pleased with the effort and performances of his players.
“The standard of the competition is not very high but we had the most accumulative players in terms of skill, so we just made that work for us. I did not really have enough time to get them into everything I would want but at least they had some fighting spirit and brought us home. This is my third time as head coach and coming in I promised them a championship so at least I have delivered,” Craigwell explained.
He added, “In this final here today, SMS really played us tough, they have a really good coaching staff in Kodia (Leacock) and Flatts (Tamisha), they are really good coaches in the making and you can tell that the style of basketball that they were playing is what Clapham would play, so we expected that tough battle and it was just a matter of keeping our composure coming down the stretch.”
The crowd on hand for today’s final was kept fully entertained during the match and at intervals thanks to the SMS cheerleader’s who ensured that they added to the already exciting atmosphere.
BCC and SMS played in the South Zone for this competition and it was the lads from Howells Cross Roads in the Ivy, St. Michael who dominated and came out undefeated thanks to the likes of Antoine Winters with a contribution of 17 points in today’s final. Winters was among the top five players of the tournament along with fellow schoolmate Harvey, League MVP Khaleb Gaskin of SMS, Nayib Browne of Harrison College and Zachary Haynes of Queen’s College.
Also making a contribution to BCC’s overall score was Scott Wharton with 20 points, Michael Walkes tallied seven and both Tristan Yarde and Rory Taylor added six while Akoba Taylor netted two.
Meanwhile for SMS, their talismans, Gaskin give it his all but just could not take them over the line as he ended a fantastic tournament scoring 17 points in the final along with Zishan Motara. Massiah also ensured that his presence was felt on the court scoring 14, centre player Noah DePaul with a contribution of 13 points fouled out in the fourth quarter and Joel Lord added five.
Strong defence was the order of play for the two teams and it showed when the scores were tied 55-55 at the end of the third quarter.
That made for an interesting final stanza as both sides strategised about their approach on offence because they were hungry for possession and demonstrated that by hustling hard.
It was one thing to get the ball, scoring was as vitally important and both teams, while they did a good job of securing possession, they failed to find the basket when it mattered.
Both sides pulled out all the stops on defence but as the clock started to wind down, they began to feel the pressure. For most of the final quarter it was turning out to be a one point game and then it wasn’t anymore as BCC escaped with a big lead.
The champion team went on to lead 70-64 with three minutes remaining in the game and it was at that moment in the match that BCC ascended to the throne as newly crowned champions of schools basketball.
Harrison College finished third after they defeated Queen’s College 19-10, 38-29, 58-32 and 79-51 also played this afternoon prior to the finals.