Monday, April 15, 2019
By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
BOTH the Division I and Division II titles will remain in the capital as the New Providence Basketball Association champions emerged as winners of the 2019 Bunny Levarity Bahamas Basketball Federation Nationals.
The Commonwealth Bank Giants repeated as Division I champions and the Breezes High Flyers won the Division II title, Saturday night at the AF Adderley Gymnasium.
Division I teams included the Giants (New Providence), Gym Rats (Grand Bahama), Abaco Elite (Abaco) and Bimini Marlins (Bimini).
Division II teams included the South Andros Eagles (Andros), Coca Cola Out Reach Saints (Grand Bahama), Eleuthera All-Stars (Eleuthera), Bimini Marlins B (Bimini) and the Breezes High Flyers (New Providence).
Giants - 100
Abaco Elite - 89
Abaco Elite had no answer for the Giants' D'Shawn Taylor and the second straight national title for his team featured his second straight MVP performance.
Taylor finished with 41 points and 10 rebounds. He shot 15-24 from the field, 2-4 from beyond the arc and 9-11 from the free throw line.
Also for the Giants, Jackson Jacob scored 25, Jeffrey Henfield nearly had a triple-double with 12 points, 10 rebounds and a game-high seven assists while Michael Bain Jr scored 12.
Sha'vanno Cooper led Abaco Elite with 25 points, Tevin Hudson had 21 points and 10 rebounds, Chauncey Cooper had 18 points and eight rebounds, Robert Joseph scored 13 and Malik Penn added 10.
The Elite opened up an early 8-2 lead in the first before the Giants rallied to tie the game at 12 on a Bain layup. They took a 20-16 lead at the end of one on a Jacob jumper just before the time expired.
The opening moments of the second featured three ties and three lead changes. Tied at 28, a Jacob jumper moved the Giants ahead for the remainder of the quarter. A Tehran Cox layup gave the Giants an eight-point lead (40-32) and they took a 48-45 lead into the half.
The third quarter saw the game tied at 50, 52, 60 and 62 before Jacob would again give the Giants the go-ahead score with his three.
It was Taylor who would beat the buzzer at the end of the third to give the Giants a 69-64 lead headed into the fourth. The lead ballooned to as much as 20 in the final quarter.
The Giants' path to the title began with an 82-75 win over Abaco in the opening round. They followed with a 75-53 win over the defending champion Gym Rats. They followed with a 64-44 win over Bimini to advance to the final.
Abaco rebounded from an opening round loss to defeat Bimini 75-51 in game two. They pulled off the upset of the tournament with a 76-73 win over the Gym Rats in the semi-finals to advance to the title game.
In 2018, the Giants out-lasted the Gym Rats 86-80, led by Taylor's 26 points, six rebounds, and five assists.
Breezes High Flyers - 80
Coca Cola Out
Reach Saints - 71
In a rematch of last year's title, the High Flyers turned the tables on their home court behind an MVP performance from Dave Davis.
Davis was dominant on both ends of the floor and finished with a game-high 25 point, 23 double double. He led four High Flyers in double figures and was one of two with double doubles in the finale.
Dario Saunders finished with 22 points and eight rebounds, Devontee Gibson had 10 points and 10 boards while Shanton Pratt scored 11.
Howard Hinzey led the Saints with 20 points and nine rebounds while Tramaine Ferguson had 19 points and nine rebounds, McKell Bethel finished with 16 points and nine rebounds while Clevon Clarke scored 12 with a game high five steals.
A 13-point fourth quarter turnaround put Breezes ahead for good after the Saints went into the half with a four-point lead.
After Mateo King's three gave the Saints a 38-33 lead, the High Flyers scored 13 unanswered points to take a 46-38 lead on a Gibson layup. They took their first double-digit lead of the game (52-41) on a Shanton Pratt jumper with just under five minutes left to play in the quarter. The High Flyers cut a late 13-point lead to just six, but Justin Gardiner and Pratt scored to give the High Flyers a 59-50 lead headed into the fourth.
Breezes shot 43 per cent from the field, despite shooting just 1-7 from three-point range. They dominated the boards and outrebounded the Saints by 24 (64-40). It led to a 22-point advantage in points in the paint (62-40) and 16-point edge in second chance points (30-14).
Neither team led by more than five points in a first quarter that featured three ties and three lead changes. Saunders made a late layup with three seconds left to tie it at 16 at the end of one.
The Saints opened up a nine-point lead in the second when Clarke made a layup for a 27-18 advantage with 6:39 left to play in the half. They led by eight when Hinzey made a three with just under a minute left to play. Pratt made a pair of late jumpers to trim the Saints' lead to just four at the half (35-31).
The High Flyers led by as much as 14 in the fourth quarter and the Saints never came within seven.
In last year's final, the Saints went head-to-head with the High Flyers and triumphed 87-79. Regis Cooper was the MVP with 21 points and 12 rebounds.
The Nationals returned to New Providence after the last two years in Abaco (2016) and Grand Bahama (2017).
The BBF traditionally hosts the round robin in honour of Bernard "Bunny' Levarity.
Levarity, who was elected to the Grand Bahama Sports Hall of Fame posthumously in 2013, was an icon on the Grand Bahamian basketball scene as a player, administrator and official.