Hoopsters are knockout queens

After 16 years of not making it into a knockout final, Combined Schools Hoopsters bounced back as new queens of the 2016 #1 Beauty Supplies and Beauty Exchange-sponsored Barbados Amateur Basketball Association’s Knockout Competition. 

Last night at the Barbados Community College they came from behind to defeat Burger King Clapham Bulls 60-51. The scores read 10-14, 23-28 and 43-40 after three quarters.

Combined Schools Hoopsters are the new knockout queens.
Combined Schools Hoopsters are the new knockout queens.

Wood led the way for the winners with a game- high 28 points, Ashlee Daniel chipped in with 11 and Tatyana Walrond added nine. Scoring for Bulls Janelle Clarke had a team-high 17 points and Makela Walcott netted 15.

Hoopsters, under the instructions of coaches Denise Alleyne and Cosmo Edwards, had a great year in the women’s basketball after making it to the league final where they lost 2-1 to Braddies Bar and ED Signs Pinelands but came back strongly to lift the knockout title against Bulls. 

Alleyne told Barbados TODAY the girls worked hard towards winning their first cup in 16 years.  

“Finally the hard work has paid off. We had a lot of young girls who came in and made the team stronger. I got a hundred percent every game from everybody and the girls are so excited [about winning the title] and so am I,” Alleyne said. 

However, Alleyne explained that the team did not execute a lot of what they had practised.  

“We were not nervous but had to recuperate at half-time and look at a few things that went wrong and try to fix them because it was only twenty minutes of basketball left and it actually worked,” said the former national player-turned coach. 

Latifa Wood goes up for another two points. (Pictures by Morissa Lindsay)
Latifa Wood goes up for another two points. (Pictures by Morissa Lindsay)

The scores were relatively close heading into the penultimate quarter even though Tracey Austin shot two followed by one of two free throws by Antoine Baptiste to take Bulls on to 31-23 when Hoopsters attacked the ball and upped their offensive play with two pointers from Winmalicia Bowen, Stephian Shepherd, Wood and Walrond to cut the deficit to one point at 30-31. 

From there Lieann Connell-Forde scored a layup to give schoolgirls the lead as they progressed to a comfortable lead of 40-31. Sade Nicholls also netted three points to increase the lead. 

Less than two minutes to play and finally Bulls found the basket through Janelle Clarke with two consecutive two pointers, followed by five free throws compliments Walcott’s trips to the line. This brought the deficit down further as Bull trailed by three points at the end of the fourth quarter, 40-43. 

Then in the fourth quarter a collective effort from Wood, Walrond and Bowen ensured Hoopsters kept up the momentum up especially on the defensive end where they stifled their opponents’ offensive attempts constantly. 

Hoopsters were ahead 47-43 when Wood with two and Walrond with a three-pointer took them to 52. It was smooth running from there and they never looked back even though Rhea Holder, Clarke and Austin had eight points between them in a last surge to take Bulls on to 51 but it was all a little too late.

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