Wildcats too much for Bulls
Young Men’s Christian Association Capita Finance Wildcats clawed their way to a third consecutive Barbados Amateur Basketball Association Under-19 Summer Jam Championship with a thrilling three-point 81-78 win over Clapham Bulls last night.
It came down to the team that wanted it the most and in the end it was the Wildcats coached by Adrian Craigwell that showed greater poise down the stretch at the Barbados Community College. Scores at the quarters read 16-14, 35-35 and 60-58.
Zachary Cave of Wildcats and Shaquan Newton of Clapham Bulls captured Most Valuable Players in the playoff and league respectively.
The victorious coach told Barbados TODAY this year that compared to previous years, 2016 was challenging because the standard of basketball in Barbados has been elevated which augurs well for the sport. He attributed hard work and commitment to his team’s overall performance.
“A lot of these players have been going all year round fighting real hard on evenings at the YMCA and despite any recognition from the association or anybody that watches basketball, these guys continue to show great improvement on evenings.
“We really came in [to the final] against all odds because we lost our star player in Nikolai Burton. So playing without him it was just a matter of convincing these guys that they can win and letting them know that their number will be called upon and when that number is called that they are ready to play,” Craigwell said.
In addition he explained that there was a lot of talent out there among the basketballers and said it was time the BABA salvaged the sport.
“Last year’s tournament was a lot easier. We did not have the all-out competition at the end. We won the final very easily but the talent level is growing and every year now it is going to be a lot harder,” he said.
With Wildcats’ leading scorer Burton off to Canada on an exhibition it was left up to Joel Hunte, perhaps the most seasoned player on the side, to take care of business and he led the way with a top score of 25 points, Cave had 16, Alec Green netted 12 and Joshua Lowe scored ten.
Despite the loss Bulls’ shooting guard Newton starred on the night with his game-high 27 points along with 22 from Andrew Ifill. In fact the two former Graydon Sealy powerhouses were the only ones really to take the attack to the Wildcats.
The score was 56-54 to Wildcats when Green shot two consecutive twos to take them onto 60-54. Then Kadeem Douglas and Ifill scored respective two pointers for Bulls and cut the deficit by two 60-58 at the end of the third quarter.
Newton signalled his intentions early when he began the fourth quarter with a three point shot to give Bulls the lead and the score line then changed back and forth until it was locked 78-78 with 7.4 seconds on the clock.
Hunte found himself in the hot seat to score two important free throws but missed both. But on the second and final attempt the ball rebounded into the hands of Cave who put it away for two. Then Gavin Howard came on to take a free throw that he scored for Cave who pulled his hamstring during an earlier celebration. In a flash the match was all over.
Pinelands defeated Warrens 81-78 in the third place game with the scores reading 19-13, 37-29 and 56-52 at the end of the first three quarters.