JC raring to go in Under-16 basketball final against Campion


JC raring to go in Under-16 basketball final against Campion

Friday, January 24, 2020

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Jamaica College (JC) overcame a spirited challenge from Ardenne High in the semi-finals of the ISSA Urban Area Under-16 Basketball competition on Wednesday to set up a highly anticipated final against defending champions Campion College.

JC defeated Ardenne 64-54 despite the best efforts of the home team. JC led 19-13 at the end of a competitive first quarter before extending the lead to eight points as they led 37-29 at half-time, thanks largely to the outstanding Kymani Phillips.

But the home team threatened to upset the odds with a third quarter rally inspired by Sekou Pringle and Shakeeff Campbell. The aggressive play of both saw Ardenne cut the lead to just three points at 44-41 before JC regained the momentum to close the third quarter at 48-41.

Phillips then went to work for the “True Blue” as they fought to open up the gap once more. They managed to do just that before Phillips fouled out with just over six minutes to play. In the end, his efforts were enough as his teammates were able to see out the game for a 10-point margin of victory.

The top scorers for JC were Kymani Phillips with 23 points and Xavier Keyes with 10 points, while for Ardenne Sekou Pringle led the way with 18 points and Shakeeff Campbell had 15 points.

Having done their homework, JC went into the match with a game planning of shutting down the Ardenne “big two”, their Coach Duhwayne Cunningham revealed.

“We wanted to make sure that Sekou didn't get off to a good start and kill us and we knew Campbell could kill us on the boards. Fortunately (for us) he (Campbell) got into foul trouble early and he sat on the bench for quite a while,” he said.

Cunningham was happy with the fourth quarter response, after the third quarter lapse, that saw Ardenne claw their way back into the contest.

“Most definitely, because that is a problem that I have been having with them, letting go, getting relaxed and start doing things we don't necessarily want them to do. They start losing their composure,” he noted.

Cunningham was full of praise for his star player Phillips that enabled them to get over the line.

“Kimani is aggressive, he works hard, he is always hitting the boards, always running the breaks, he is just good for us. His is a strong-willed player that never says die, he never gives up.”

Having lost twice to Campion already this season, JC will be looking to turn the tables when it matters most, in the championship game.

“It's a grudge match. Campion beat us twice earlier (in the season) and the coach seemed to have some unpleasant things to say about our school. So I take it personal and the boys take it personal, so we are looking forward to the finals,” he concluded.

— Dwayne Richards

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