Falcons to face Cobras in Hugh Campbell championship tonight


Tribune Sports Reporter


THE 28-team field is down to two and the championship matchup in the 2018 Hugh Campbell Basketball Invitational will feature a familiar New Providence- Grand Bahama rivalry.

The defending champion Tabernacle Baptist Falcons will take on the CC Sweeting Cobras in tonight’s championship game, scheduled for 8pm at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium.

Both teams advanced surprisingly untested down the stretch with wins by double figures in yesterday’s semi-finals.

In the first of two semis, a rematch of the GSSSA championship series produced the same result as the Cobras defeated the Anatol Rodgers Timberwolves 55-39.

The duo of Marco Beckford and Brandon Strachan dominated both ends of the floor and lifted the Cobras to yet another Hugh Campbell championship berth.

Strachan finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds while Beckford also scored 17 points with seven rebounds, Cassius Turnquest scored six and Dondre Nairn chipped in with six.

Dominick Bridgewater was the lone T’Wolves player in double figures with 14 points and Kirklyn Farrington added eight.

Tied at six early in the first quarter, the Cobras got five points from a pair of Strachan scores and an Anthon Williams free throw. Strachan scored on another corner three just possessions later and the Cobras took a 14-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Another three from Antoine Smith opened the second quarter to push the lead to double digits for the first time and Beckford added another score to go ahead 19-6 at the 4:23 mark in the second.

The T’Wolves finally brought an end to that run with a pair of Kevin Thompson layups. The Cobras had trouble connecting from three-point range but had the advantage on the offensive glass.Brent Smith corralled one of those missed threes for a follow up layup with just about 40 seconds left to play and the Cobras led 24-14 at the half.

CC Sweeting again opened the quarter with three pointers on two of their first three made field goals and took a 32-17 lead. A Bridgewater layup and Farrington three pointer cut the lead to 10, but the T’Wolves getting to capitalize on opportunities to trim into the lead. The Cobras got a layup from Strachan and a three-point play from Beckford to stem the tide and maintain a 41-26 lead headed into the fourth.

The lead reached as much as 21 in the fourth when Strachan made a runner from the baseline at the 3:13 mark to go ahead 28-49.

In the second finals, the defending champions looked poised to repeat with a 44-33 win over the CI Gibson Rattlers.

Desmond Butler shook off a knee injury suffered in the Falcons’ opening game of the tournament and finished with a game high 22 points while Joshua Dames scored 12. Tyrell Butler led the Rattlers with 11 points and Terrence Storr scored 12.

The Falcons dominated both the offensive and defensive glass and outrebounded the Cobras by 14 (39-25).

Shyrone Kemp grabbed 12 boards and Regis Cooper had 10 while no Rattlers player finished with more than seven.

A back and forth first quarter featured four lead changes ad ended in a 9-9 tie. The Falcons opened the second on a 9-0 run, capped by a Dames three to go ahead 18-9.

Darryo Saunders ended the Rattlers drought with a three, Butler added another three and the Falcons lead was eventually cut to just two, 18-16 with just over a minute left in the half. Desmond Butler added a late floater and the Falcons took a 20-16 lead at the break.

CI missed several three-point opportunities to tie and the Falcons made them pay when Dames converted a three point play to take a 24-18 lead halfway through the third. The Falcons run continued and a Butler layup gave them a 28-18 lead and double figure advantage for the first time. Alfredo Brown added a layup, Dames made technical foul shot and followed with a corner three for a 34-18 lead. Derico Burrows made a pair at the line for CI and Storr banked in a three but Dames ended the quarter with a layup to take a 36-23 lead into the fourth.

The Rattlers couldn’t cut into the deficit in the fourth and continued trailing by double figures throughout.

The Falcons are coached by Kevin Clarke who is seeking his second consecutive title since he took over the helm from head coach Norris Bain. Last year the Falcons defeated the Rattlers in the 2017 title game.

Tabernacle holds the record of seven Hugh Campbell titles, six won under Bain’s leadership (1995, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2009 and 2010) in addition to Clarke’s last year.

This is now the 11th year that Mario Bowleg is coaching CC Sweeting and he will be assisted by Derek Cummings, Wayde Adderley and Salathiel Dean. Under his leadership, the Cobras have won five Hugh Campbell, three GSSSA and one National High School basketball titles

The Cobras last hoisted the trophy in 2016 when they knocked of the Sunland Baptist Stingers out of Grand Bahama. That added to the titles Bowleg coached the team in 2012, 2013 and 2015. The other title won by CC Sweeting was in 2007 when they were coached by Ian Pinder.


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