– tournament dubbed overwhelming success
By Edison Jefford
Billed as a clash of high school’s basketball titans, President’s College salvaged pride for East Coast yesterday when the elite institution spoiled a Georgetown clean sweep in the final of their School Based Assessment championship.
The school made maximum use of home court advantage against a misdirected opponent, Bishops High School to come away with a comfortable 35–28 points win that eventually handed them the NAMILCO championship trophy.
National junior guard, Richard Mohandat dominated with his speed and sharp shooting to lead President’s College on offence with 13 points, coupled with six assists; he also landed the Most Valuable Player of the final award.
Mohandat was also given a prize for amassing the most points in the tournament while he got support from Joel Joseph, who was awarded Most Outstanding Player of the event but only managed seven points in the game.
It was definitely a clean sweep for President’s College as Willon Cameron got the nod for the Most Valuable Player of the tournament award after leading his school to the final the previous day against Bladen Hall Secondary.
Bishops High School’s guard, Wainright Haynes, who led his team with 16 points, was in the limelight again with an award for ‘Best Play’ after finishing a neat front rim up–and–under move through the major defence.
Georgetown–based Saint Stanislaus College won the third place encounter against Bladen Hall 24–18 in the first win for the City. It was for Bishops to put the ‘icing on the cake’ in the final but President’s College spoiled the party.
The top institution secured an early defensive advantage that allowed them to dominate in the early minutes of the first half. While both teams struggled to convert on possession, President’s College was more responsible.
Mohandat did not find his ‘A’ game immediately but was contented to dish the ball to the likes of Cameron, who frequently penetrated the paint. Cameron did not have a great conversion ratio but the intention was clear.
When Mohandat’s game kicked in, President’s College sped to a 21–5 lead in the second to last period. The nippy guard made light work of Bishops’ defence as the burden of the opposition’s offence rested with Haynes.
Despite Bishops boasted national junior player, Yannick Dundas and the talented Tesrick Rambissoon, a collective offensive effort went out the window after the home team took the psychological advantage to a next level.
President’s College got the hundred–plus students that gathered to support them involved on every play and it was clear that they did not intend to lose against the background of such patriotic and unrelenting patronage.
Bishops improved on offence in the fourth and final period and clawed their way to 23–35 points deficit with less than two minutes to play in regulation time, which only altered the score of Bishops after the final whistle.
When veteran referee Dennis Clarke blew off the game, it was obvious that the emerging Bishops were disappointed. They felt aggrieved after just beginning to scrape into the game that was lost since the first half.
“This was a very good job on the absence of our school relay. I know we will have good grades at CXC (Caribbean Examination Council),” President’s College Physical Education teacher, Keith Smith said after.
He thanked the schools for participating in sentiments that one of the student coordinators Esther Kursatte reiterated in her speech. “We are very much grateful to the participating schools for offering us their presence,” she informed.
In addition, she thanked NAMILCO, Jerrick’s Funeral Home, DaSilva’s Optical, Trophy Stall and the Parent Teachers’ Association for their contributions towards making the inaugural event an overwhelming success.
The three-day basketball competition brought together Georgetown’s Saints, Bishops and Marian Academy on the opening day on Tuesday while the host took on East Coast’s Golden Grove and Bladen Hall the following day.
The competition certainly set the tone for the National Sports Commission High Schools Mashramani Championships scheduled to start at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall with a gala opening ceremony tomorrow.
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