By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
The Charles W Saunders Cougars took the early bragging rights over the Jordan Prince Williams Falcons in the showdown of the two Baptist schools in the senior boys’ finals of the Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools last night.
With both teams bringing out their boisterous fans, the Cougars prevailed with a hard-fought 65-57 victory over the Falcons to snatch game one of the best-of-three championship series.
It capped off another Baptist victory as Jordan Prince Williams prevailed over the St Augustine’s College Big Red Machine 58-42.
Amidst the Baptist celebrations, St Augustine’s College chopped down the St John’s Giants 49-16 in the senior girls’ opener and the Kingsway Academy Saints marched past the Big Red Machine 34-33 in the nail-biting junior girls’ opener.
Game two in all series will be played on Wednesday, starting at 4pm and, if necessary, the third and deciding games will take place on Thursday.
Cougars 65, Falcons 57: Raymone Woods pumped in a game high 17, Treymon Wright had 14, Tenaj Strachan had nine and Romial Strachan added seven to lead a balanced scoring attack for Charles W Saunders in the battle of the Baptist schools in their senior boys’ feature encounter.
For Jordan Prince Williams, Trae Clarke scored 20, J Kemp 12 and B Godet and Kamari Minnis helped out with 10 apiece.
In the closely contested game, the Cougars raced out to a 14-12 lead at the end of the first quarter and held onto a 32-31 advantage at the half. Jordan Prince Williams opened a 52-40 margin at the end of the third, but they had a complete collapse in the fourth quarter, scoring just five points.
As the Cougars rallied back, Nakero Brown-Cox came up big, converting one-of-two free throws before he put the explanation mark on the game with a break away two-handed reverse dunk in the final minute.
Coach Dario Burrows couldn’t be happier with the performances of his CW Saunders squad as they avenged a one-point loss to Jordan Prince Williams in their last encounter during the regular season as they both finished with identical 9-12 win-loss records.
“In a three-game series, you don’t want to go down one to nothing because it’s very hard to come back, so we wanted to secure this game as our home game. We got it, so I’m grateful,” Burrows said.
Game two is scheduled for Wednesday and Burrows is anticipating the same result.
“We have to be a little better on the offensive end. Our defence was okay, but we will clean that up and be prepared for the next game.”
Falcons’ head coach Ernest Saunders said it’s definitely going to be a different outcome in game two. “At certain times we were lost. We got lackadaisical, but overall, we are a lot better than we were tonight,” he pointed out. “The best thing about it all is that we have to play the game all over again, so it should be different from the way we played tonight.”
Big Red Machine 49, Giants 16: Antonica Moultrie stamped her approval on this lopsided affair as she canned 19 points for St Augustine’s College as she out-scored St John’s by herself in their senior girls’ series opener.
Moultrie, who came up with 13 alone in the fourth quarter, was assisted by Twanna Gibson with eight. Arannna Gomez and Dior- Rae Scott both had six as the Big Red Machine remained undefeated on the season.
Moultrie’s mother and head coach Annie Sands-Moultrie said it was just want they expected. “It went the way we wanted it to go,” she said. “The girls stuck to the game plan, but we still have to work on our defence. We hope to improve on that in game two. We hope to do the same thing, but even better.”
SAC opened a 13-2 lead at the end of the first quarter. They extended it to 31-8 at the half. After getting out-scored 5-3 in the third, the Big Red Machine rolled out the fourth quarter on a +5-3 spurt to easily preserve the win.
Lebronique Demeritte and Rexannah Green both contributed five in a losing effort for St John’s, who also got four from Geontae Simpson.
Giants’ head coach Oswaldo Taylor said they got distracted because they were told they were playing at one point and the girls got all hyped up and then the officials told them they had to wait a little longer.
“Our girls went out there, running around the court getting ready to play and they told us that we were not playing then,” he said. “That dampened some of the girls spirits and because of the hold up, it killed the momentum that we had. “We are playing against SAC and although they beat us by eight points on their home court, we came out here to win this game. Our centre then got hurt early in the game and that really took us out of our rhythm. But I will have them ready for game two on Wednesday.”
Falcons 58, Big Red Machine 42: Michael Munnings’ game high 20 and Condae Smith’s 16 points was more enough for Jordan Prince Williams to rely on as they slowed down St Augustine’s College to clinch the junior boys’ opener in grand style. Smith had seven and Munnings five as the Falcons flew out to an 18-10 advantage at the end of the first quarter and opened a 32-22 margin at the half.
They were in complete control of the second half, out-scoring SAC 15-12 in the third and 11-8 in the fourth as they coasted to victory.
Nathan Rolle scored points, Keitho Johnson had 11 and Tyler Frazier had nine in a losing effort for St Augustine’s College.
Saints 34, Big Red Machine 33: Andica Curtis canned Kingsway Academy’s final seven points, including the winning basket to lift Kingsway Academy to knock off SAC in a junior girls’ game that could have gone either way.
Curtis, who only scored a basket in each of the first two quarters, came up with 10 in the third and eight in the fourth to seal the deal as she led the attack with a game high 22 points.
Mihayla Joseph had five and Dashante Sears four to help in their cause.
Azara Marshall scored 13 and Alexis Robets had six in the second half as St Augustine’s College made it a contest down the stretch. Marshall ended up with 16 and Roberts had 10.
Tashae James chipped in with five for the Big Red Machine, who led 7-4 at the end of the first quarter and held a slim 11-10 margin at the half.
Behind Curtis’ 10 points, St John’s surged ahead 25-24 and slowed down the Big Red Machine with an 11-9 spurt in the fourth as Curtis took over down the stretch.