By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
THE St John’s College Giants and the White Team were a little too much for the Jordan Prince William Falcons to handle in the junior and senior girls’ championship games in the New Providence Women’s Basketball Association’s All-Girls Basketball Tournament.
Held in honour of Linda Davis, one of the premier women’s basketball players in the country, the pre-season event saw the Giants roll past the Falcons 30-24 in the junior girls’ finale and the White team prevailed with a 23-17 overtime decision over the Falcons in the senior girls’ division.
Giants 30, Falcons 24
Aptly nicknamed the Giants, St John’s used their height to dominate the smaller Jordan Prince Williams in the second half as they pulled away from a close first half.
The game was tied 7-7 at the end of the first and 13-13 at the half. But the Giants put their stamp on the game with a 7-3 spurt in the third and they never relinquished it the rest of the way.
Most valuable player Rhema Collins put her approval on the victory as she scored four points in the third and finished with 17 points and a pair of block shots as she controlled the tempo of the game.
“I felt we could have done better, but we pulled out the win,” said Collins, who at 5-feet, 11-inches, was unstoppable.
The 13-year-old ninth grader wasn’t pleased with her effort either.
“I felt I could have done better. I just have to push myself more,” said Collins, who one day aspires to become a professional basketball player in the Women’s National Basketball Association.
Raven Jones added nine and Johneisha Nixon added a basket.
The game saw coach Terrance ‘Red Etye’ McSweeney secure a win for St John’s over his former Jordan Prince Williams team.
“It’s always n opportunity to give God thanks and praise,” McSweeney said. “We want to thank the NPWBA for putting on this much needed tournament. It’s very timely for the organisers, Dee and his committee for putting this on. I was hoping that more juniors played to see where they are.
“We give hats off to Jordan Prince Williams where I’ve been up to 2017 and to see the young ladies who I worked with back and now they are coming into full bloom of their game. But my girls, which is a young group of about seven girls still in grade seven, wanted it a little bit more and we played like that.”
Veronaya Charlton had a game high 18 points and Ceira McKenzie chipped in with four in a losing effort.
“We gave it all we had, but we fell short,” said Falcons head coach Verron Charlton. “We have a new team basically with a new nucleus, some of girls are getting used to the game. We missed some assignments, but we are getting it together. This is still the pre-season, so we will get better.”
White team 23,
Tied at 15-15 at the end of regulation, the White team went to work in the extra three minutes as they used a 8-2 spurt to secure the win.
The White team had too much firepower when it counted the most, using an effective fast-break attack to penetrate their way to victory.
Kardyn Baptiste, named the MVP, ignited the charge and scored a pair of baskets in OT as she ended up with eight points. Rachel Rolle and P Haye both had six and Makayla White contributed four.
“I felt like we played alright,” stated Baptiste, a 16-year-old grade 11 student at St Augustine’s College. “We executed on defence and that is what created our offence. We slowed down the tempo of the offence to our pace and made it our game. We played more efficient.”
With 45 seconds left in regulation, Brianna Stevens went to the line with a chance to complete a three-point play. She missed the free throw and Jordan Prince Williams held a slim 15-14 margin.
But on the next play with 38 seconds left, Rolle canned just one of her two free throws to tie the score and forced the OT after both teams missed an opportunity to win it in the final 10 seconds.
“I think they performed very well, despite being short handed,” said Anastacia Moultrie, coach of the White team. “A lot of our players were not here for the tournament, but it was good for those who came to get in some work before they start playing in the school league.
“They did an excellent job and we just wanted to keep them focused as they played some basketball.”
“I guess the girls were a little fatigued. It’s the pre-season and we didn’t execute as we should down the stretch,” said Tarek Williams, coach of Jordan Prince Williams.
“They made more plays than us. We just played a game before that and we’re working on some new plays, so we will be ready for the season. We were holding back on one or two things. We didn’t want to show them everything in the pre-season. The Falcons will be back bigger and better.”
Stevens led the Falcons with seven and Dwaniqua Rolle helped out with four.
“I want to thank the organisers and the coaches, but last but not least the players and their parents and guardians,” Davis stressed. “This is a remarkable thing they are doing here. Keep up the good work.”
“It started off rough because we had some teams who didn’t show up and we had to revise the schedule,” said Dee Johnson, the new president of the NPWBA.
“We used the teams that we had.
At the end, it came out good and the girls played well. The tournament ran well and so we’re looking forward to a bigger and better tournament next year. We see a lot of potential in the girls moving forward. This is what it is all about. We just need to let them play basketball.”
Johnson thanked his executive team for joining him in pulling the tournament off and they look forward to expanding on the success as they host another edition next year.
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