Marian Academy had longed believed that their time to dominate schools’ basketball would soon come after the institution had put in place the necessary structures to succeed. That belief showed definite evidence of results Sunday at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall.
Marian came from 19 points down in the second half to beat Saint Stanislaus College 70-59 in an intense National Schools’ Basketball Festival (NSBF) Georgetown Conference Final, which was part of the Youth Basketball Guyana (YBG) nation-wide Conference Championships.
Tequain Vieira led Marian’s offence with 18 points, 12 of which he delivered in the second half, including two three-pointers during the last minutes. Vieira received adequate support from Ruel Ritch, who had 15 points and Jason Ray Khalil, who drilled a crucial jumper.
Khalil, who is also a current national squash champion, drilled an important three-pointer to put his team up 58-55 with just over three minutes left in the game. It was a remarkable comeback after Saints had taken a 34-29 lead at half-time then a 50-31 lead early in the second half.
Saints went on a 17-4 run that stole the momentum from Marian going into the half-time break, then lead scorer for them, Neil Gordon with 28 points in the game, led them on another run in the second half owed to his prolific scoring ability.
However, good defence from Marian forced the Saints offence to crumble under the pressure and Gordon went silent in the closing minutes. Kevin Higgins added 13 points with Lorenzo Bethune scoring eight points and grabbing 14 rebounds for Saints.
In the supporting game, Plaisance Secondary School defeated School of the Nations 70-45 with Nikkoloi Smith scoring 28 and Nicholas Cassius 15 points for Plaisance. Dino Choo-Wee-Naam top scored for Nations with 22 points and grabbed six rebounds.
Bethune was adjudged the Best Defensive Player; Gordon the Leading Scorer and Ritch was the Conference’s Most Valuable Player. Digicel Guyana Inc., Banks DIH Limited and Beharry with its Champion Brand are sponsors of the 2011 NSBF Championships.
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