Jul 09, 2013 Sports
– win first U-20 title, Kwakwani are U-17 champs
By Edison Jefford
A last-minute meltdown from Kwakwani Secondary in the National Schools’ Basketball Festival (NSBF) under-20 final Sunday night at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall allowed Marian Academy an opportunity to win their first title in the category.
It took the CARIFESTA Avenue-based institution eight years and three final appearances, and an intrepid performance to topple Ann Gordon and the ultra-dominant Kwakwani senior team 54-53 in a thriller that was decided in the last minute of the game.
Shooting guard, Eon Meredith missed three straight free-throws after he fowled from three-point range within the final minute. Meredith had the chance to put Kwakwani two points ahead of the Marian Academy unit after Dominic Vincente had scored.
Vincente drove in the lane to put Marian ahead 54-53, but with Meredith, who landed some huge shots all night, on the line Kwakwani seemed to have the title in the bag.
It was not to be; Marian played possession basketball in 40 seconds of tense activity, and in the absence of the shot clock, to come away with their first Under-20 win in three final appearances.
Guards Dale Beresford and Domonique Vincente scored 17 points and 11 points respectively and Tequain Vieira 10 points and nine rebounds for Marian, who sparked loud celebrations after they won, the title that evaded them in the eight-year NSBF history.
Forward Leonard Primo scored 15 points and raked in 27 rebounds while the point guard, Orwin Samuels scored 13 points with 17 rebounds, and Eon Meredith 12 points and 13 rebounds for the team that has literally dominated the NSBF earning the most titles.
Marian went on a 10-2 run late in the second quarter to level the scores at 23 points, but a minute of quality offensive execution from Kwakwani that included a three-pointer from Samuels, an inside move from Primo and a Meredith dagger from downtown ensured eight points in a minute that gave Kwakwani a 32-29 lead at halftime.
In a defensive start to second half, with Marian opting for a 3-2 zone on defence that Kwakwani struggled to read, Primo found his way inside for a put-back then a fundamental inside move and And1 finish continued Kwakwani’s seeming dominance of the game.
Vieira landed a big three-point jumper for Marian, but Meredith answered right back to maintain a 43-37 lead for Kwakwani with three minutes to play in the third period, but Beresford led with a 5-2 run for Marian to close out the penultimate quarter.
Marian continued their run in the final period of regulation time when Judah Stephney’s coast-to-coast lay-up handed them their first lead of the game 46-45, but Primo went to work again in the paint where he returned a three-point lead to Kwakwani.
The ferocious offensive exchanges were proliferated with Vincente finished a front rim lay-up to again give Marian a one-point (50-49) lead with six minutes left in the game. Hints of Kwakwani meltdown began when they squandered four free-throws.
In the final two minutes, Vincente scored two shots from the line to extend Marian’s lead 52-49, meaning that Kwakwani had not scored in four minutes. Primo broke the spell with four points in the paint to haul his team to a 53-52 lead before Meredith flopped from the line to gift wrapped a title for Marian that did not seem likely throughout the game.
Earlier, in the Under-17 title game, Kwakwani defeated New Amsterdam Multilateral 57-40 with Kevin Gordon scoring 16 points and Floyd Edmonds eight points and 12 rebounds; forward, Neil Wills scored 16 points and grabbed 21 rebounds for NA Multi.
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