The Tabernacle Falcons may have wanted to give themselves sufficient time to recuperate and rest before heading to the Hugh Campbell Basketball Tournament, because they wasted no time in sweeping the Eight Mile Rock Blue jays in two straight games to clinch this year’s Senior boys basketball title.
The Falcons closed out the championship on Thursday night with a 78-59 win over the Blue Jays.
Tournament MVP, Rashad Rolle as well as Meloin Elise pumped in 15 points each to lead the Falcons.
Hakeem Stuart got a game high 24 points for the Blue Jays, but it would not be enough to get by the Falcons.
“We’ve been playing some awesome basketball since we got back from Bristol, Tennessee and so I’m really proud of the guys and the way they handled this championship series,” said Falcons’ head coach Norris Bain.
The Falcons easily took game one of the series on Wednesday night and came back on Thursday night to close out the series.
Thursday’s game was one coach Quinton Hall and the Blue Jays wanted to win and for the first half of the game, they played as if they wanted to stay alive in the series and force a game three.
At the half, the Falcons held on to a three-point lead (32-29), in spite of the fact that earlier in the first period, they had held an eight point lead.
The Blue Jays had a number of opportunities to make up some points but missed shots on a few trips to the basket. A technical foul against the Blue Jays, a turnover and hitting some shots from the free throw line and the Falcons increased their score, 36-29 early in the top of the third.
Tabby would take their biggest lead of the game in the bottom of the third, going up 50-40 with a little over one minute left to play in the third. By the end of the third, the Falcons led 55-44.
That would be the turn around period for the Falcons.
“We were not too worried about the first half, because I think that our guys have an understanding of what we want to do and we know that basketball is a game of runs and they had their runs,” said coach Bain.
“We held our composure; we’re mentally and physically tough and we’re not gonna be intimidated in any way. We’re gonna do the things that we practiced and I knew that as long as we shoot the ball well, we could win the whole thing.”
The Blue Jays fell apart in the fourth period as they committed three big turn overs and the Falcons took advantage and increased their score 64-48.
It was not long before the Falcons took a 16 point lead, 66-50 in the middle of the fourth period.
A big three-point shot by Rashad Rolle, and a steal and conversion and Tabby grabbed a 20-point lead. It would be a lead from which the Blue Jays would find it hard to recover from, especially against a team like the Falcons.
With 1:02 left to play and up 74-56, Norris took out his starting players and substituted all bench players. Ironically, coach Quinton Hall of the Blue Jays did the same thing.
But he encouraged the bench players to play like they were starters. “Don’t stop playing, don’t stop playing,” coach Hall shouted to his players from the sidelines.
While the Blue Jays were able to pick up two three-pointers, Tabby’s bench players also picked up their fair share of shots and were able to hold on and close out the game.
“Thank God I believe that the young men who he has given me to work with have bought into our system and because they have bought into that system, I believe that’s why we’re seeing such good basketball from them,” said coach Bain.
“I think that going up that first game in the series really gave us the advantage, but I told the guys not to get relaxed and to go out there and play hard. We have a very confident basketball team and so my job is to make sure that they don’t get laid back.”
With the High school championships behind them, coach Bain said that their focus now will be on the Hugh Campbell Basketball Tournament, which begins on Monday in Nassau.
Published Friday, February 14, 2014