Western News

Jawhawks promoted to WBA Elite League

BY PAUL A REID
Observer West writer

Thursday, August 15, 2019

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — The University of the West Indies-West Jamaica Campus (UWI-WJC) Jayhawks will play in the Western Basketball Association (WBA) Elite League next season after winning the Men's Division One title, beating Montego Bay Gladiators 2-1 in their best-of -three finals that ended at the Montego Bay Cricket Club last Thursday.

Jayhawks held off the highly favoured Gladiators by just four points (77-73) in the decisive third game which they led by double figures, but were outscored 14-2 over the final five minutes as Gladiators staged a late rally that fell just short.

The win made up for last season's 1-2 loss to Montego Bay Boys Club Warriors in the finals as well as their only loss in the regular season.

They will replace Cornwall Courts Chargers, who were relegated from the Elite League, as they failed to win a single game all season.

Gladiators had rallied from a big double-digit deficit to win the first game by one point (85-86) on July 31, also at the Cricket Club, but Jayhawks rebounded on August 3 to win Game Two 82-73 before Thursday's win.

Jayhawks dominated on Thursday and led by double digits, as many as 16 points in the third quarter, and were able to absorb a late rally by Gladiators, who were led by David Gordon and Rhyheem Barrett, who combined for 59 of their 73 points.

Jayhawks led 26-17 after the first quarter and were up by 46-32 at half-time, followed by a 60-49 advantage going into the fourth quarter.

They were running away with the game with five minutes to go, leading by 16 points at 75-59, but were outscored 14-2 over the rest of the game. But, unlike in Game One, they were able to hold on to the lead, denying Gladiators the win.

Antonio Spence scored 24 points and had seven rebounds to lead Jayhawks, while Odane Whittaker just missed a double-double with 20 points and nine rebounds. Ajani Tummings came off the bench to contribute 14 points, while Nicholas Minott also scored 12 points.

Gordon scored a game-high 42 points and had 17 rebounds, Barrett scored 17 points and had nine rebounds, while Josimar Stephenson was the next-best scorer with six points and nine rebounds.


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