Sport

Spot Valley, William Knibb capture basketball titles

BY PAUL A REID Observer writer

Thursday, January 23, 2014    

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — William Knibb Memorial High and Spot Valley High were both first-time champions of the ISSA/KFC Western Conference high school boys' Under-19 and Under-16 basketball titles, respectively, on Tuesday at the Montego Bay Cricket Club.

They defeated defending champions Muschett High 2-0 in both sections of their best-of-three finals.

Both games were impaired by persistent afternoon rains that affected western Jamaica for more than a week.

William Knibb rallied from a 16-point deficit near the end of the second quarter to beat Muschett High 61-60 in a nail-biting contest to lift their first Under-19 crown after taking the first game 81-65 last week.

Spot Valley swept all before them, beating Muschett High 69-40, to complete a perfect season and almost match their Game One margin of 60-42.

Daniel Henry of William Knibb was named the Finals MVP for the Under-19 after leading his team back from the edge of defeat, while Jhamonique Brown of Spot Valley was the MVP for the Under-16 final after scoring 27 points and 12 rebounds in an all-round dominating performance.

The second half of the Under-19 final was played in a drizzle, and the officials were forced to call a halt with six-and-a-half minutes left when the rain became heavier. They even had discussions about continuing at a later date.

Muschett led 49-46 then after William Knibb had tied the scores at 46, less than a minute earlier, after trailing 44-28 late in the first half.

After being manhandled in the first game and losing for the first time in the season, Muschett led by Karlington Barrett, who scored 14 of his 19 points in the first half, got off to a better start and quickly led 10-2 with just over two minutes to go in the first quarter.

Henry led the fightback with two big three-point baskets to cut the deficit to two 8-10 at the break, but Muschett reasserted their dominance in the second quarter and opened up a double-digit lead, 35-24, with just over five minutes to play in the half. They managed to get the lead up to 16 points, but once again William Knibb responded late and got the deficit down to six points, 20-26, at the half.

Muschett High suffered a setback early in the third quarter when Alston Billings picked up his fourth foul and then fouled out with four minutes and 42 seconds to go.

William Knibb capitalised on this and went on a run, cutting the deficit to three points, 43-46, at the 7-minute, 21-second mark, then tied the scores at 46 with 6 minutes 56 seconds to go.

After the forced stoppage, the teams then thrilled a big crowd with dogged, determined basketball, as the lead changed hands on almost every possession, and a lapse in concentration might have denied Muschett a third game.

With William Knibb up by one point, 61-60, with 21 seconds to go, they failed to foul early on an inbound play, allowing William Knibb to run down the clock, and despite Henry and Shavaughn Reid both missing a pair of free throws with less than two seconds to go, the victory was sealed.

Reid led William Knibb with 19 points, including a big lay-up and free throw after he was fouled with four minutes 21 seconds to go; Henry had 17 points, while the consistent Alwayde Smith scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.

Trevor Mowatt had a game-high 22 points, along with 19 rebounds, five assists and five steals, while Barrett managed only five points in the second half to finish with 19 points and 21 rebounds, while Michael Schloss scored nine points.

In the Under-16 game, Brown led the way with 27 points and 12 rebounds, as Spot Valley led 21-11, 33-22 and 49-33 at the end of the three intervals.

Dezron Harris scored 22 points and Shamar Bucknor scored 11 points for the winners, as Alton Ricketts led Muschett with 12 points and Damiane Thorpe scored 10.

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