Championship night for The Bahamas Nationals High School Championship got underway with the Family Island and Senior Girls’ championships tilts.
The Family Island national crown was decided between the Gateway Academy Eagles out of Bimini and the Abaco Central High Marlins out of Central Abaco.
The Eagles soared away with the Family Island crown with the score of 56-43.
Bradley Lightbourne registered a monster night en route to Most Valuable Player (MVP) honors. He put up a game-high 18 points and grabbed 17 boards.
Denzel Johen turned in a 10 and 11 double/double (points and rebounds), Lemardrae King chipped in with 12 points and six rebounds.
Jason Petit turned in 13 points and six boards for the Marlins. Alex Jeancius backed him up with 11 points and pulled down six boards.
The Eagles held a 13-8 lead midway through and went into the second quarter with a 15-10 lead.
The Eagles’ lead grew by as much as 11, 21-10 with 5:38 to go in the second. The Marlins began to rally late into the quarter and trailed 18-21 with 1:10 remaining.
A three by the Eagles ended the run to push their lead up, 24-18. The eagles led 24-20 at halftime.
The Eagles’ all-out effort on the glass began to wear down the Marlins. With 3:09 left to go in the third the Eagles held a 32-20 lead. By the end of the quarter the Eagles’ lead stood at 37-24.
The Marlins’ struggles on the offensive end continued as the Eagles built a 44-28 lead halfway through the fourth. The Marlins looked to make a late run but the Eagles’ defense held strong toward the finish.
Next were the Lady Falcons of Jordan Prince William who took on the defending champion Doris Johnson Lady Mystic Marlins in the senior girls national championship tilt.
A dominant second half by the Falcons put things out of reach, as they knocked off the defending champions, 52-30.
Terrell Cox put in 16 points, pulled down eight boards and grabbed five steals along with Most Valuable Player (MVP) honors. Shaniqua Thompson chipped in with nine points and five rebounds. Tanea Bowleg poured in 14 points along with six rebounds. Briontae Riley owned the boards with 15 rebounds to go with nine points.
Falcons’ head coach Terrence McSweeny thanked God for the win.
“I want to thank God for bringing us here to cap off my third season with this program in this way. This shows you what BAISS has been doing over the years, but in particular what we have been doing with the Lady Falcons, home of the Dirty birds.
“We really worked hard this year, the top players from Doris Johnson they come through us so we knew their mindset. They beat us by three points earlier in this tournament, they beat us in the Geneva Rutherford tournament by three points. I told them we have to beat this team to prove a point to them.”
The Falcons started off on fire and built an early 11-4 lead late in the first. Eventually, trailing 6-11 coach Kevon Spence called a timeout to get his Marlins composed. The Falcons, however, went into the second with a 13-7 lead.
The Marlins trailed 9-14 for most the second quarter. The Falcons built on that lead over the Marlins and held a 20-14 lead at halftime.
The Falcons used the third quarter to create some breathing room. The Falcons built a 10-point lead with 4:30 to go in the third to lead 30-20. The Falcons held a comfortable 36-22 lead headed into the fourth.
The momentum remained in favor of the Falcons. JPW gained a 43-30 lead with 3:12 to go into the fourth. The Marlins struggled to mount any offense as their hopes of repeating as national champions slipped away. The Falcons lead grew to 19 points and that was pretty much all she wrote.
Marlins’ head coach Kevon Spence said the loss was an emotional one for the team.
“Well I know nothing will console them at this time. They worked all season for this and it’s just hard to take a loss at this time, knowing that we won many games before and just to come and lose the big one. It’s hard.”
The evening concluded with the senior boys championship between the Tabernacle Falcons and St. Georges’ Jaguars.
Published Tuesday, March 7, 2017