By BRENT STUBBS
It’s not how you start, nor how you get there. Most importantly, it’s how you finish.
The Finish Line, a weekly column, seeks to comment on the state of affairs in the local sports scene, highlighting the highs and the lows, the thrills and the spills and the successes and failures.
The Week That Was
There’s a saying that good things come in pairs.
I don’t know which one was bigger, but we have to salute the Doris Johnson Mystic Marlins and the Queen’s College Comets for winning their respective basketball and track and field championship titles.
Whichever you decide, both victories were significant in their own right and should be highlighted all the same for their achievement in the history of local high school sports.
Double delight for Marlins
The Mystic Marlins finally got the monkey off their back as they swept the CI Gibson Rattlers in two straight games to win the coveted senior boys basketball title in the Government Secondary Schools Sports Association (GSSSA) championship.
Two years ago, coach Denycko Bowles guided the Mystic Marlins to the final of the 2014 Hugh Campbell Basketball Classic, only to lose out to the CI Gibson Rattlers, coached by Kevin ‘KJ’ Johnson. In that match-up, the teacher got the better of the student as Johnson won over one of his former players in Bowles.
The two teams, albeit with different players, met in the GSSSA final where Bowles avenged the loss. And in the process, the student got the better of the teacher.
It was the first time that the Mystic Marlins had won the GSSSA senior boys crown, but they had even more success to celebrate as their senior girls swept the CR Walker Knights to make it a double celebration. It was the first time in GSSSA history that one school got the two titles on the same platform.
Doris Johnson senior girls, coached by Kevon Spence, should be commended for their triumph. Now they are expected to travel to Grand Bahama next week to try to add their second title at the Geneva Rutherford Basketball Tournament for senior girls.
In New Providence, the Mystic Marlins will be out to win the prestigious Hugh Campbell Basketball Classic for senior boys teams at the AF Adderley Gymnasium. The tournament, which will see the return of the Grand Bahama schools after a year’s absence, gets underway on Monday.
for the second time
On Monday, on their campus on Village Road, Queen’s College will hoist the Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools (BAISS) championship banner for the second consecutive year.
The Comets, who the week before lost the senior boys basketball championship to the Jordan Prince Williams Falcons, made this one look so easy as they dominated the three-day meet at the Thomas A Robinson Track and Field Stadium from start to finish as they denied the St Augustine’s College ‘Big Red Machine’ the opportunity to regain the title that they had in their possession for the previous 26 years.
There were those who felt that the heavy recruiting by Queen’s College coaching staff, led by Everette Fraser, made the difference in their repeat performance. When you are on top, you do what is necessary to stay there.
And that’s what the Comets did.
You could have seen the writing on the wall for SAC during the various club meets contested before the championships.
The Comets had more athletes performing at a high level in those meets and they came out as a team.
They left their impression on the BAISS National High School Relays that were staged the week before the BAISS championships. It was obvious that Queen’s College were much more prepared for the championships than the Big Red Machine.
Plus, St Augustine’s College had a few injuries and Queen’s College were firing on all cylinders.
The week ahead
The 33rd version of the Hugh Campbell Basketball Classic will also get underway on Monday. The AF Adderley Gymnasium will be buzzing with activity as some 30 schools will be vying for one of two spots to contest the championship title on Monday, February 27 at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium.
The biggest news so far is that the Grand Bahama schools will be returning after sitting out last year’s competition due to a dispute with the organisers over the way they were treated.
With their return, the tournament will be back to its national prominence and it couldn’t happen at a better time as the two New Providence associations will be led by two new champions.
Doris Johnson was the latest crowned as they swept aside CI Gibson in two straight games in the GSSSA, while Jordan Prince William did the same over Queen’s College in the BAISS.
No doubt, everyone want to see how well they stack up against the Grand Bahama teams, who have always provided the challenge for any champion coming out of New Providence.
The list also includes the CC Sweeting Cobras, who are the reigning champions.
The Tabernacle Falcons are the last champions from Grand Bahama to win the tittle. They they did it six years ago when coach Norris Bain made history with his sixth tournament leading victory in 2010.
Let the tournament begin.