By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
THE Temple Christian Suns retained their mini boys and primary girls titles as the Freedom Baptist Academy’s sixth annual Majority Rule Basketball Tournament concluded over the weekend.
And at the end of the two-day tournament on Saturday at the Anatol Rodgers Gymnasium, the Teleos Cherubims and DW Davis Pitbulls faced each other as they split the mini and junior boys’ crowns. There were no teams entered this year in the junior girls’ division.
Temple Christian’s head coach Keno Demeritte commended Jerome Lucas and Mikhilo Strachan for guiding the Suns to their repeat performances in the primary divisions.
“Both teams remained poised and focused throughout the tournament,” Demeritte said. “They worked together as a unit from players 1-10 with good ball movement, tight defence and they followed instructions to the T.
“We did not have any selfish ball play, but everyone looked for one another on offence and covered their teammates’ back on defence. It was a complete team effort.”
Suns 7, Genesis 2
Coach Strachan gave his team the wake up call message at the half and they responded, breaking away from a 2-2 tie to surge to victory.
Terelle McCoy and Danielle Moore provided three and two points respectively in the second half. Danielle Nixon scored their only two points in the first half.
Suns 14, Freedom Baptist 10
After they played to a 4-4 tie in the half, coach Lucas got his Temple Christian mini boys to step it up in the second half as they clinched the victory.
Tavion Farrington scored all of his four points in the second half to preserve the win. Jahiem Pennerman had five, including three in the first quarter, to help out.
In a losing effort, Lionel Rolle canned a game high 10 points, including six in the second half on three free throws and a three-pointer to try and keep Freedom Baptist in the game.
Cherubims 28, Royals 27
For the second time in the two days of the tournament, Teleos got the better of DW Davis as they repeated as the primary boys’ champions.
Martino Butler hit the game winning free throw as he finished with nine points, but it was Andrew Bethel who paced Teleos with a game high 13 points, including six in the second half.
The game was tied 14-14 at the half. “This one felt even better than the last one, beating DW Davis,” said Teleos’ coach Yves Pierre, referring to their victory on day one of the tournament on Thursday. “It felt like a chess match. It was a grudge match. It was a challenge. My boys are not as experienced as DW Davis. This was actually a test for us for whatever is left for us for the remainder of the season.”
It was the third title this season for Teleos, who added to the Father Marcian Peters Invitational and the Pinewood Gardens Homecoming victories they got in December. Tayshan Butler and Jansley Lewis scored 10 and seven respectively in the loss.
Royals 37, Cherubims 16
There was no way that coach Mark Hanna was going to leave the tournament without a title. After his DW Davis primary boys lost a close encounter, he got his junior boys to apply the pressure against Teleos.
The Royals held a slim 13-10 margin at the half, but in the second half, the combination of Keith Forbes, with six points, Daniel Joseph with five and both Philip Dawkins and Santino Sawyer with four apiece, got the job done.
Sawyer finished with 10 points, Forbes had eight and both Joseph and Dawkins came up with seven as they sealed the deal.
Michael Albury and Ricardo Riley all had eight and six points apiece in a losing effort.
“This was a good mid-season tournament,” coach Hanna said. “This gave me a chance to evaluate the team and find out who my core eight guys are going into the final run in the GSSSA.”
The Royals are currently 4-0 and are poised to secure their fourth straight title. Hanna said it was good for them to get some competition from the CH Reeves Raptors, one of their arch-rivals to gauge where they are at this point in the season.
DW Davis knocked off CH Reeves in what could have been the championship in the matchup to get to the final. In that game, Frederick King scored a game high 20 points, Dawkins had six and Sawyer five for the Royals.
For the Raptors, coached by Rashad McKenzie, Donte Saunders scored nine and both Jadyn Farrington and Backley Cadet had five each.
Pastor Vincent Major, the administrator at Freedom Baptist, said the tournament turned out to be one of their best ever. “I think this tournament was exciting and tremendous. It was great to see the young people from the schools come out and participate,” Pastor Major said. “I was very impressed with Genesis Academy because even though they didn’t have the best teams, they made an effort in bringing two teams to compete.”
Unfortunately, Pastor Major said his Freedom Academy didn’t win any of the titles, but their players learned the value that it is not all about winning, but rather participating.
For the past three years, Stanford Davis has helped to organise the tournament and serve as the head coach referee.
“I really appreciate this opportunity because I see a lot of new friendships being formed and the children’s attitude are changing,” Davis said. “I think they are understanding what is Bahamian because most of the kids know that it’s not about winning or losing, but developing that friendship and getting to know Christ.”
He commended Pastor Major and his wife for following the vision that God has given them to go out and reach the young people through the basketball tournament in their unique outreach programme.
Norleen Henfield headed the team of statisticians, who kept record of the games played.