By RENALDO DORSETT
Following an opening game loss, the Bahamas bounced back in dominating fashion to even their win-loss record thus far at the 2015 FIBA Centrobasket Under-17 Championship for Men.
A stifling defence and four players in double figures led the Bahamas to a 92-46 win over Barbados yesterday at the tournament hosted in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
D’Andre Vilmar finished with a near triple double for the second consecutive game with 21 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and four steals.
Franco Miller scored 15 points off the bench, Corey Deveaux added 12 points, Travaughn Nicholls finished with 11 while Sherman Robinson added eight points and five blocked shots.
Brandon Hope was the lone player from Barbados to reach doubles figures with 13 points.
A 3/4 court trap from an active Bahamian defence forced 42 turnovers, came up with 26 steals, and forced 41 points off those turnovers. They outscored Barbados 58-24 in the paint and limited the team to just 28 per cent shooting from the field.
The Bahamas shot 42 per cent from the field, but still struggled at the line (58 per cent) and from three-point range (10 per cent).
In the first quarter, Nicholls got the game started with a runner on the opening possession and the Bahamas led wire to wire.
The Bahamas didn’t hit their first three pointer until midway through the fourth quarter in game one, but that changed quickly yesterday as Deveaux’s early three gave them a 10-4 lead with just under four minutes to play in the first. They took a double-digit lead when Robinson converted a tip-in to go up 14-4.
They would eventually take a 21-12 lead at the end of the period.
Vilmar, who went scoreless in the first, would come out on fire in the second, scoring the first seven points of the quarter.
His outburst would spark a 8-0 run for the Bahamas to open the quarter as they took a 29-12 lead before Barbados would end the drought.
The lead reached as much as 22 when Vilmar scored his 12th point of the quarter on a layup.
The Bahamas took a 20-point lead into the half, 45-25.
In the third quarter, the lead reached beyond 30 for the first time when Adrian Thompson made a jumper to put the Bahamas ahead 63-32 with 4:16 left to play in the third.
It would be their highest scoring quarter of the game when they outscored Barbados 31-13 and took a 76-38 lead into the fourth.
Barbados would score just four points in the fourth as the lead grew to 40 on Deveaux’s layup and 50 on Jyles Ettienne’s putback.
The Bahamas is slated to face host country Puerto Rico tomorrow at 8pm in a must win matchup if they hope to advance to the semi-finals.
Puerto defeated Barbados 97-37 in their opener and took on the US Virgin Islands last night. However, the results were unavailable up to press time.
The Bahamas placed themselves in a hole on day one when a late rally fell just short in the game’s final moments and they suffered an 82-79 loss to the USVI.
Vilmar, the 6’4” guard out of Abaco and Roman Catholic out of Pennsylvania, stuffed the stat sheet for the Bahamas and led the team with 18 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists.
Philip McKenzie finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds, Adrian Thompson scored 14 with seven rebounds and five steals while Sherman Robinson finished with 11 points.
Jahmia Simmons led the USVI with a game high 21 points and 13 rebounds, JB Brodie added a double double - 14 points and 14 rebounds - and Jahkiebo Joseph finished with 11 points, six rebounds and six assists.
Participating teams in the tournament include the Bahamas, Barbados, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Virgin Islands, Mexico, Dominican Republic and hosts Puerto Rico.
The top three teams will qualify for the 2016 FIBA Americas Under-18 championship.
At the 2013 Centrobasket, the Bahamas finished fifth at the tournament with a 71-49 win over El Salvador, but failed to earn a qualifying spot for the 2014 Tournament of the Americas as one of the top three finishers.
Centrobasket is a FIBA-sponsored basketball tournament where national teams from Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean compete.
The top three or four teams typically earn berths to the FIBA Americas Championship, from which they can qualify for the FIBA World Championship or Olympics.