Saints rout Blue Waves 31-15 in sudden death semifinals


Sports Reporter


SAINTS head coach Randy Cunningham said he is in the midst of building a junior girls programme set to dominate high school basketball for the next five seasons and if last night’s playoff game was any indicator, the Saints are well on their way to achieving that goal.

The Saints defeated the St Anne’s Blue Waves 31-15 in the sudden death semifinals of the Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools Junior Girls division to advance to Wednesday’s championship.

Valicia Demeritte scored a game high 15 to lead the Saints, while Tanae Bowleg chipped in with seven and Alana Pinder added six.

The Saints’ decisive advantage on the boards was on display early and led to a number of second and third shot opportunities. They were able to easily extend possessions and create easy baskets.

To back up their work on the glass, the defensive effort with full court trap led to steals and easy fast-break baskets and a 9-3 lead at the end of the first quarter.

An amped Saints crowd erupted with every basket and made the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium feel like the school’s Bernard Road campus and not a neutral location.

The Saints had reserves on for much of the second, but when the starters re-entered, they widened the margin once again.

Demeritte’s steal and layup gave the Saints a 13-3 lead with 2:15 left to play in the half and the Blue Waves closed the half on a brief four -point run to pull within single digits.

Kingsway led 13-7 at the half.

“I like the fact that we crashed the boards. I think we played the press very effectively. I think we can do a better job in our zone defence,” Cunningham said.

“With the big lead I gave our reserves a lot of time because I like to play everybody in every game I coach to develop our young players and not just keep all the starters in all the time. We had a little drought there for a minute but I know we had the game under control, but it was important everybody got a chance to play because in the next round things will only get harder from here.”

The Blue Waves opened with the first score of the second half to come within four points, but did not score again in the period until the 40-second mark.

But the Saints would respond with a run of their own sparked by a four-minute timespan where St Anne’s did not pass the half court line against the stifling Kingsway trap..

Demeritte split a pair at the line for a 19-9 lead and Pinder’s layup on the following possession broke the 10 -point barrier for the first time.

The Saints nursed a 21-11 lead into the fourth as Pinder sealed the win with several crafty drives to the basket and assists to Bowleg.

“It makes no difference who we face next. Our goal is to dominate high school basketball for the near future. It doesn’t matter who we play,” Cunningham said. “Our game plan doesn’t change and we are going to go ahead and beat them. For our programme, it is bigger than this one season, we have a goal to dominate high school basketball.”


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