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Combermere and Graydon Sealy basketball champions

 After 11 years of knocking at the door, Combermere are finally the kings of the Massy United Insurance-sponsored National Sports Council Division One Basketball competition, thanks to a game high 29 points from forward Jehu Lafeuillee.

This afternoon at the Wildey Gymnasium they delivered a sensational performance to dethrone Harrison College 66-59 in an intense battle.

From as early as Andre Ifill’s – who was later voted Most Valuable Player – opening basket of the game, the writing was on the wall for a competitive game.

From left Most Valuable Player in  Division One Andrew Ifill all smiles with Shaquan Newton of Graydon Sealy  who was named Most Outstanding Player in Division Two.

From left Most Valuable Player in Division One Andrew Ifill all smiles with Shaquan Newton of Graydon Sealy who was named Most Outstanding Player in Division Two.

After ending the first quarter with a slim two point lead (19-17), two consecutive dunks from Lafeuille to start the second quarter helped to give Combermere the momentum

 Harrison College’s guards Joel Hunte, who ended with 25 points and Nickolai Burton who contributed 17, tried their best to keep their school in the contest, but Combermere’s stingy defense limited them to just 10 points in that quarter.

 A second half outburst from Hunte and Burton, which began the second quarter on a 10-2 run, helped Harrison College claw back within one at 38-37, before two huge three pointers from Lafeuillee quickly silenced the boisterous Harrison College crowd.

Those baskets helped to propel Combermere to a 54-45 lead, and despite efforts by Hunte and Burton to keep their team within striking range, they were unable to overturn the deficit and the huge Combermere contingent erupted in celebration at the sound of the final whistle.

For the winners, Ifill added 11 points, while Theo Greenidge and Josiah Beckles each had 10.

Combermere’s coach of 11 years Stewart Mayers said defeating Harrison College was a big deal for his team after losing to them on so many other occasions.

He explained that as part of the school’s strategic plan to develop their basketball programme, they made a decision to draft talented players from other schools who were leaving fifth or sixth form, to play for a two-year period.

“The way I see it is that the coach is supposed to recruit and it is not that we are stealing from anybody. These boys were in fifth form…so the way I see it these [boys] recognize that there is a programme [here] and they come over. It shows that something good is happening at the school,” an elated Mayers said.

According to him, more needs to be done to develop basketball at this level.

“It is a year round program [at the school] and what I like to do from the start of the summer is to keep the guys together and we play the [BABA] Barbados Amateur Basketball Association tournament as a school ourselves, along with Harrison College.

“So there is no surprise that we are the two schools in the final because the coaches keep them together. This tournament starts as soon as school begins, so really and truly if you wait [until school starts back] you are not going to get the best out of these kids,” he explained.

In the other final played this afternoon Graydon Sealy defended their Division Two title convincingly, when they won 59-53 against Ellerslie, who they defeated for the second successive year.

Shaquan Newton top scored with 22 and was named the Most Valuable Player of the competition.

The versatile Chemar Steele had 20 and Ahmal Smith eight.

It was a contest which Graydon Sealy controlled from tip off, and by halftime they had built a commanding 12-point lead.

From thereon it was just the Graydon Sealy show, and despite a late comeback bid by Ellerslie, they were unable to make up for last year’s defeat.

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