Two more GSSSA champions crowned


Senior Sports Reporter


COACH Kevin ‘KJ’ Johnson and his CI Gibson Rattlers celebrated another Government Secondary Schools Sports Association championship feat, this time in the senior girls’ division.

On Friday at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium, the Rattlers polished off the CR Walker Knights 45-41 in the third and deciding game as they joined in the celebrations of their senior boys, who swept the Anatol Rodgers Timberwolves in two straight games on Thursday night.

Just before CI Gibson enjoyed their double dose of victory, the DW Davis Royals also got a chance to celebrate.

Minister of Education, Science and Technoloy Glenys Hanna-Martin was on hand to view the games and made the presentation of trophies and was quite impressed with what she saw.

“I was just asking the president of the GSSSA (Varel Davis) when last were they in competition. It was pre-pandemic. But the level of competition that I saw in here was just incredible,” Hanna-Martin said. “The hard drive, the professionalism and the skills that I saw, it was just wonderful.

“If this is what we got after two years of being laid up, Lord have mercy, I can’t wait to see what will happen in the days, months and years ahead of us with our young athletes. This was a beautiful evening. I’m glad I was here to witness it.”


CI Gibson Lady Rattlers - senior girls champions.

Senior girls

Rattlers 45, Knights 41: Most valuable player Jada Francis saved her best game for the finale as she canned a game high 24 points and was followed by Philippa Ferguson with 13. Trinity Cartwright had three, while Traineia Green was held to just two, along with Alencia Brice.

The Rattlers picked up where they left off, repeating as champions albeit with a two-year break in between.

But it’s the first time that Johnson won both senior boys and girls titles at the same time.

“CR Walker is a very good team. They fought hard, but we stuck to our game plan,” Johnson said. “Some of the girls were a little selfish, not passing the ball as they should. But we went into the locker room and we talked to them about playing the game the right way and defensively we forced some turnovers that allowed us to control the game.”

With his commitment to his senior boys for the prestigious Hugh Campbell Basketball Classic that starts today at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium, Johnson is still contemplating whether or not his Rattlers senior girls will travel to Grand Bahama for the Geneva Rutherford Tournament that starts on Thursday.

CR Walker has already purchased their tickets and coach Tia Rolle said they are hoping to redeem themselves in Grand Bahama with or without CI Gibson.

“We started off good, but in the last quarter, we just didn’t have it. We missed too many free throws,” said Knights coach Tia Rolle. “But CI Gibson played a very good game. They deserved to win. We will go to Freeport on Wednesday and hopefully we can win the tournament there.”

Shenell Stewart had 19, both Shamanja Cummings and Raynia Russell added seven, Brianna Hanna had five and Alexi Appoleon chipped in with three, but it wasn’t enough.

After Stewart and Cummings scored six and four respectively to help CR Walker to open a 12-8 lead in the first quarter, Francis stepped it up, connecting on 10 in the second as CI Gibson cut the deficit to 25-21 at the half. But Stewart had five, Russell four and Cummings three as they stayed ahead.

CR Walker stayed ahead at the end of the third as Stewart came up with four and Hanna had three. But Francis and Ferguson helped the Rattlers to hold off the late surge by the Knights down the stretch in the fourth. While France had six, Ferguson helped out with five.


DW Davis Royals - junior boys champions.

Junior boys

Royals 47, Sharks 43: MVP Darius Hanna finally got to win a championship title for his father, coach Mark Hanna, as he led DW Davis’ scoring attack with 17 points. Kamal Miler had 11, Khamani Davis six, and Windishy Paul and Charles Delva both finished with five. “This one feels good. I did more praying than coaching,” coach Hanna said.

“This one was a miracle. This one was an answered prayer. It feels good because I have eight players who are in grade eight, four in grade seven and three in grade nine.

“After the pandemic, my programme was restructured and so to win this one, we were counted out. They say DW Davis was too small. But through prayers, hard work and perseverance, God brought us through. It’s going to be a long celebrations for us.”

Kami Davis scored 18 points, Malachi Cadeam had eight and both Emmit Smith and Shawn Rolle had six in a losing effort.

SC McPherson got a balanced ace in the first quarter with Cadeam leading with four, Davis and LaQuare Collins both had three and Aljah Pierre added two. They stayed ahead 24-23 as Davis had eight in the second period.

DW Davis stormed back in the third behind four apiece from Hanna and Miller, along with three from Davis. And in the fourth, the Royals used an 11-10 surge to stay ahead of the Sharks as Hanna and Miller ended up with five and three respectively.

Despite the loss, a highly spirited coach La’Cricia Swain said they gave it their best shot.

“There’s a group of players that I will be bringing back next year, so it’s always next year,” she summed up. “We will be back.”

Davis, who had double duties as the GSSSA president and coach of the CH Reeves Raptors’ victorious junior girls, said it was good to get the season back on track after missing the past two years.

“After not playing since 2020 due to the pandemic, I was very impressed with what I saw,” Davis said.

“We had a very competitive season across the board from our junior girls to senior boys division. It was a very exciting season, very exciting playoffs and very exciting championships. We’re just happy to be back and thank God for another successful year.”

The GSSSA, adding basketball to the softball and baseball season which have already been played, will now gear up for its track and field championships, volleyball and soccer before they complete the 2022/23 calendar year.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.