By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
Team Bahamas began the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers against one of the highest ranked team in the region and were overwhelmed by a stacked Canadian team on the road.
The Bahamas lost 93-69 to team Canada, Friday night at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Team Bahamas will play the second game in the “home-away” window tonight against the US Virgin Islands at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium.
Then on Thursday, February 22, the Bahamas will host the Dominican Republic and Canada on Sunday, February 25.
Their final two games will be on the road on Friday, June 29 in the US Virgin Islands and Monday, July 2 in the Dominican Republic.
The Dominican Republic is the top-ranked team in the group based on the FIBA World Rankings at 18, Canada follows at 24 and the Virgin Islands are No.59.
Their final two games will be on the road on Friday, June 29 in the US Virgin Islands and Monday, July 2 in the Dominican RepublicJaraun “Kino” Burrows led four Bahamian players in double figures with 15 points and five rebounds. Shaquille Cleare finished with 12 points, Able Joseph finished with 10 points and Darshtyn Baker also finished with 10 points off the bench. LJ Rose finished with a near triple-double with eight points, seven rebounds, and eight assists.
Brady Heslip led Canada with 22 points, shooting 6-of-9 from behind the arc. Phil Scrubb finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists, and Thomas Scrubb had 12 points, four rebounds and four assists.
The Bahamas dug themselves into a hole early and were outscored 21-11 in the first quarter. The lead got even more lopsided in the second quarter when the Bahamas managed just six points in the second quarter and a 45-17 lead at the half.
National team head coach Mario Bowleg said the team has the capability of playing better, but did not offer its best effort in the initial matchup against Canada.
“We’re an athletic team and we are a better shooting team and a better defensive team than we showed.Not taking anything away from Canada, they played great defence and made their shots.” Bowleg said, “It seemed like we couldn’t stay in front of them on the man to man so I went to the 2-3 zone and kept on switching up from one zone to the next.We want to throw teams off and on. We just didn’t come to play. We won’t elaborate on this loss. We lost, that is a done deal, we didn’t come to play. We need to prepare to beat the Virgin Islands, but this was one loss, we have six games to play.The Virgin Islands have always been our greatest rivalry and at the end of the day, these guys don’t want to go home 0-2 in the hole. They are disappointed that they didn’t come to play and they admit that. The VI will try to bounce back, but so will we.”
On the offensive side of the ball, the Bahamas shot 59 percent from the field, but just 12.5 percent from three point range.
The Bahamas has been placed in Division A and Group D of the FIBA Basketball World Cup qualifiers, playing against Canada, The Dominican Republic and The Virgin Islands. Sixteen teams from the division will be competing in the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup Americas qualifiers and only seven teams will advance to the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
The Dominican Republic defeated the USVI in their Friday night matchup, 99-89.
The 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup will be the 18th annual tournament for the men’s national basketball teams and will be held in China. The seven top contenders from the FIBA Basketball World Cup will qualify directly for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.