By TENAJH SWEETING
Tribune Sports Reporter
THE Sand Dollar High Flyers division one and two teams added another victory to their win columns after defeating the Island Development Rebels and BIBT Great Whites on Wednesday night at the CI Gibson Gymnasium.
The High Flyers D1 team bested the Rebels 97-89 in their matchup. Meanwhile, the division two team closed out the Great Whites 85-79 to collect their first victory of the NPBA season.
The High Flyers were locked into a competitive match with the Rebels in the opening quarter which ended 23-20 favouring the winning team. However, the now 2-0 team advanced by 7 at the 5:00 mark of the following period and closed out the half 46-33.
The game was a physical match between the division one teams as tensions rose throughout the bout resulting in players being ejected by officials.
Donillo “Donnie” Culmer, High Flyers head coach, shed some light on his perspective of the team’s most recent win against the Rebels.
“There are plenty of hot heads in the game and they felt that they were not getting certain calls in the paint, but it is basketball and you have to stay mentally strong and play through it. Despite that, the Rebels shot well tonight but we were able to overcome it for the win,” Culmer said.
Rashad Ingraham led the High Flyers in scoring on the stat sheet. He charged his way to a team-high 19 points on a crisp 6-for-10 shooting from the field.
His scoring prowess was bolstered by the defensive efforts of Van Hutchinson Jr and Dave Davis. The latter posted 15 points and a game-high 17 rebounds to record a monster double-double in the win.
Hutchinson played the role of facilitator as he notched 14 assists and pulled down 10 rebounds in the game.
The High Flyers got their biggest lead of the contest in the third quarter where they created a 16-point scoring differential on the scoreboard to lead 57-41. Although the Rebels were able to erase some of the deficit, the game was a foregone conclusion from the halftime break.
The Sand Dollar bench played a pivotal role, outscoring the Rebels’ players 61 to 19.
Additionally, they crashed the boards with purpose and outrebounded the Rebels 61 to 49.
Martin Conliff scored a game-high 27 points, to pair with 3 assists in a losing effort for the Rebels.
In the first game of Wednesday’s double header, the division two High Flyers snuck past the Great Whites.
Omar Pierre gave the Great Whites defence problems all night long as he dropped a side-high 35 points in the ball game.
He also grabbed four rebounds and had two assists. His scoring was validated by great shooting numbers with 12-for-24 on 50 per cent shooting from the field and 5-for-10 from deep. The 17-year-old shared how it felt to drop 35 points in the win.
“It felt good and was not easy but I tried my best to score. Coach Donnie has been great and taught me things to contribute to my game and now I just want to improve my playmaking,” he said.
The High Flyers and Great Whites were locked at 14 apiece to close out the first quarter. Both teams refused to give an edge in the tightly-contested game but Sand Dollar went into the halftime break in charge with 34-30.
The matchup continued with this pattern, including 12 lead changes and the score being tied 7 times.
In the final quarter, the Great Whites narrowed down the High Flyers lead to 7 at the 1:04 mark after Mark Sawyer, who finished with 14 points, made a layup. However, Pierre retaliated with a layup of his own to give his team a double-digit advantage and cushion for the win.
Coach Culmer said he is very proud of the team and loves the potential of the new group of players.
“This is a new group of guys I just formed the past two weeks, but I am very proud of them. We have a lot to work on but I see a lot of potential. I came back into division two with a three-year plan, once the guys continue to come to practice and stay off the streets, they will be alright,” he said.
NPBA games continue today with Your Essential Store Giants matched up against the Discount Distributors Rockets at 7:30pm. The CB Giants take on the Leno Regulators in game two at 8:30pm in the CI Gibson gymnasium.