At least for now, Grand Bahama reigns supreme at the highest level of high school basketball. The male players are the marquee athletes in high school basketball and Grand Bahama owns the Hugh Campbell crown and also the National Championship.
What is most noteworthy is the fact that once the final for the boys National Basketball Championship rolled around on Monday night past, only Grand Bahama schools were in the mix. Yes indeed, the No. 1 high school squad Tabernacle Baptist Academy had powered its way to an automatic berth in the final. Fellow Grand Bahama players from St. George’s High had to go through the ringer of an elimination process, inclusive of meeting the No. 2 national ranked team C. I. Gibson in a crucial contest to earn the right to meet Tabernacle.
The expectations for St. George’s were quite low. With Tabernacle coming off the Hugh Campbell title win, and the dominating way the team pranced to the National final, inclusive of defeating its nemesis C.C. Gibson to qualify for the ultimate game with a perfect record, St. George’s was a heavy underdog.
However there should have been some considerations most of us failed to address. The St. George’s Jaguars were home. Also, it was getting a bit too much to digest, to be confronted day after day with the spectacle of the Tabernacle Baptist High Falcons already ordained as the best high school basketball team in the land.
From this very forum, that view was expressed. Pound for pound, to use a boxing vernacular, Tabernacle Baptist probably still has the best team. On Monday night though, St. George’s proved able to capture the special moment in time. The Jaguars, their coaches and the entire St. George’s Nation are congratulated for the milestone attained.
Equally as significant is that Grand Bahama has bragging rights for the present. The prominence of high school basketball in Grand Bahama ignites with new passion the sports rivalry between that island and the capital New Providence.
A bushel load of the nation’s most outstanding sports people, are products of Grand Bahama. Apart from high school basketball, there is the wealth of talent in athletics, namely high jumper Donald Thomas, quarter milers Alonzo Russell, Michael Mathieu, Demertius Pinder and Latoy Williams; outstanding collegiate swimmer Joanna Evans; the rugby and soccer lads; boxer Sherman “Tank” Williams and of course the professional basketball players Jonquel Jones and Buddy Hield.
At no time though, was there a more fierce rivalry component than boys’ high school basketball. For 30 years, Grand Bahama has been producing quality teams capable of beating the best high schools in New Providence.
Now, it appears the rivalry has gone to a new level. The addition of the National High School Basketball Championship provides the ideal ingredient to heighten the rivalry. Without a doubt, the noted Coach Kevin Johnson of C. I. Gibson and his peers in New Providence must go back to the drawing board to stop the tidal surge from Grand Bahama.
The future looks bright for high school basketball in the country.
The twin mega championships, Hugh Campbell and the Nationals, are the collective case in point.
Best wishes to all of those who are contributing to the power sports force in the country, known as high school basketball!
(To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Published Thursday, March 9, 2017