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New York City top Caribbean Hoopfest, defeat Team Canada 77-69

Observer writer

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

MONTEGO BAY, St James — The New York City team won last weekend's successful third staging of the Caribbean Hoopfest held at the Montego Bay Community College auditorium, beating Team Canada 77-69 in over-time in the final played on Sunday.

New York City rallied late to tie the scores at 67-67 in the final before dominating the three-minute extra time period to overcome their opponets from Canada.

Donald Francois, the main organiser of the, was happy with the outcome of the three- day event that started on Friday afternoon and continued on Saturday.

“It went great... we saw a lot of improvements from the two previous stagings, and especially in the talent levels that we saw — it went to another level or two; Montego Bay will benefit from this,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

Francois noted that despite the quality on display, there is still room to grow.

“We need to get more people on the ground here in Montego Bay and we need more corporate involvement that would help with the growing staff, but it can only get better from here,” he said.

Six teams have taken part in the event — two from New York, one from Canada, two from Montego Bay, as well as one from Kingston. All players were between the agesof 13 and 18 years old.

While Team NYC had to battle all the way, with Team Beetz defeating them 54-49 in their semi-final, Team Canada beat Montego Bay Rose 58-47 in their semi-final game earlier.

The more rested Team Canada had the better start leading 11-10 after the first quarter, but Team NYC took over the lead 26-24 at half-time and stayed ahead 49-44 going into the fourth quarter despite playing without starting centre Alex Eastwood who hit his back on an exposed metal support on the back board in the first half and sat out the remainder of the game.

Canada came out well at the start of the fourth quarter, scoring the first four points and then led by as many as six points at 61-55 with four minutes to go before a tense finish, with the teams exchanging leads all the way.

The lead was three points for Team Canada with 21 seconds to go but Team NYC held their nerve and tied up the scores with four seconds left on the clock, with Roncello Faison missing a second free throw that would have won the game in regulation time.