Royals, Lions take early leads in best-of-3 finals


Tribune Sports Reporter

Perennial title contenders in both Government Secondary School Sports Association junior divisions began their bids to repeat as champions.

Both the DW Davis Royals and HO Nash Lions took early series leads as the best-of-three finals tipped off yesterday at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium.

In game one of the Junior Boys series, the top seeded Royals scored a 49-40 win over the CH Reeves Raptors.

A balanced scoring attack featured four Royals players in double figures, highlighted by 16 points from Deangelo Foulkes.

In his high scoring supporting cast, Kenvon Farrington added 12, George Colebrooke had 10 and Aaron Brown had nine.

Marley Major scored nine, while Jaydon Farrington had seven for the Raptors.

It was a hard fought game throughout the opening phases of the first, Farrington's second three pointer of the game gave the Raptors an 11-9 lead with just under one minute left to play in the quarter.

Farrington tied it at 11 from the line in a first quarter that had three ties and four lead changes. The teams took a 13 all tie into the second.

The Royals opened the second with a Farrington dish to Brown for an alley-oop and he successfully converted the three-point play.

After a Raptors run gave them a brief lead, the Royals half court trap resulted in a 6-0 run to take a 23-19 advantage.

The size of the Colebrooke, Brown and Foulkes frontline began dominating the boards defensively but could not take advantage on offence, missing several second and third shot opportunities.

The Royals still took a 25-19 lead into the half when Farrington split a pair from the line with time expired.

CH Reeves opened the third with six unanswered points, capped by a fast break layup from Major for a 26-25 lead. The teams traded baskets on the next two possessions and tied at 30, the Royals closed the quarter with an alleyoop from the Farrington to Brown connection, followed by Farrington's steal and fast break layup. They took a 34-30 lead headed into the fourth.

The Raptors scored the opening basket of the fourth but the Royals would eventually open up a 10 point lead when Colebrooke's layup made it 45-35 with just over 2:30 left to play in regulation.

HO Nash Lions - 42

TA Thompson Scorpions - 38

If game one is any indication how the remainder of the series will play out, the Lions' path to the title won't be as easy as it has been in past years.

It was a scorers duel between the Lions' Sands who finished with 26 points and nine rebounds and the Scorpions' Webster who finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds.

The Lions took an 10-2 lead but the Scorpions went on a 6-0 run to end the first. They missed several opportunities to tie and Lions ended the quarter on a 5-0 run. They scored the first basket of the second but it would be their only field goal of the quarter as the Scorpions mounted a comeback. The Scorpions eventually came within two but the Lions led 18-16 at the half.

TA Thompson took their first lead of the game early in the third, but back to back scores from Sands gave the Lions 25-21 lead with 3:08 left in the third. She added another score on a fast break layup to finish her own 6-0 run She scored eight in the quarter and the Lions clung to a 29-26 lead headed into the fourth.

Tied at 29 on the follow, The Lions regained the advantage down the stretch and Sands' late runner late gave the Lions the 40-37 lead for good.

"We struggled defensively, I don't know what happened out there early on," Lions head coach Patty Johnson said. "We couldn't get a stop, we couldn't make a shot, but the girls were able to turn it around in the second half."