Bahamian AAU teams secure championship wins abroad

TWO FOR THE ROAD —The Bahamas Jaguars 17 and Under (17U) team was victorious once again. This time, they came away as champions at the Houston National Summer Showcase, in Houston, Texas this past weekend, July 5-7. They won the 17U championship at the King of the Court tournament in Mississippi on June 29-30. Pictured far left is team assistant Godfrey Rolle and pictured second left is coach Calvin McIntosh.      (PHOTO COURTESY OF BAHAMAS JAGUARS) 

Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball tournaments are widely contested across the United States during the summer months and a pair of Bahamian AAU teams held their own and secured championship victories this past weekend, July 5-7.

The Bahamas Jaguars’ 17 and Under (17U) team, fresh off their championship victory at the King of the Court Classic held on June 29-30 in Jackson, Mississippi, doubled down on their success in America thus far. The Jags took the Houston National Summer Showcase, in Houston, Texas by storm with a 6-1 record. The process led to them defeating the Houston Knights, 64-33 this past Sunday evening. 

Despite the Jags’ dominant display throughout the recently held tournament, coach Calvin McIntosh stressed that the margin of victories were not indicative of how hard the players had to push to secure their second AAU championship for the summer.

“First of all I want to give thanks and praise to the Almighty for allowing us to do what we do. I’m so proud of these young men who worked so hard and put in so much effort to achieve that victory yesterday (July 7). We had to play four games that day and in the championship almost everyone was basically cramping up.

“The ones who got cramped, massaged the areas out and said ‘coach I’m ready to go.’ We had to finish that game with five players. Everyone else either couldn’t go back in or was injured. They played hard, fought hard and pulled off the win.

“The final scores aren’t indicative of how hard they had to play to achieve that win. It just goes to show this Jaguars programme is going in the right direction,” he furthered.

On Saturday, July 6, the Jags’ 17U squad suffered its first and only loss at the hands of Backcourt Hoops 17U Elite, 69-66. From there the Jaguars were unstoppable. Later that evening the Jags regrouped and took care of business versus Shooting Stars Elite White with a final score of 68-45.

On Sunday, the Jags dominated Shooting Stars Elite Blue, 70-46, and then ousted the Texas Inferno moments later. The final score in that contest was 60-31.  In their semifinal victory, the Jags rolled to a 59-40 win over Warriors United. 

McIntosh disclosed that the senior boys team is mostly constructed of players who came up through their programme.

“They played on the junior team and now they’re on the senior team. Because of that, it makes coaching more easier because they know what you want and when you talk they can go on the court and display that. This is a special group of guys.

“I personally feel both teams that we brought with us, are probably the best group of guys that we’ve had.” 

As for the juniors (16U), that team also made a championship appearance in their division, but came up short against Team Dominate. They lost that one, 63-50. 

Nonetheless, the troop finished with a 4-2 mark. The 16U Jags dropped their first contest to Modern Basketball that Friday, July 5. The final score was close, 48-42. The Jags bounced back a day later that Saturday, July 6 with a narrow 71-69 win over their eventual championship opponents in Team Dominated. 

Later that Saturday, the Jags vanquished team FYN with a 61-47 victory. On Sunday, July 7, the Jags picked up a win over Basketball University Silver by a final score of 54-51. They then followed that win up by defeating Houston Defenders-Rodgers, 50-41. 

“For the junior team, it was the first time they ever made the championship. They made it to a few semifinals in the past. The Bahamas Jaguars’ AAU programme is headed in the right direction. We have good players and coaches back home and it’s showing in tournaments like these. This was the first time we were able to win two tournaments in one trip. We’re getting better with each summer that we travel. So I’m proud of these guys.”

The Jags have one more leg of their AAU road trip coming up. This coming weekend, July 11-14, the Jags will also see action in Dallas, Texas at the Great American Shootout.

As for Team Bahamas Elite (TBE), that squad went a perfect 4-0 at the Dynasty Hoops Summer Showdown held in Orlando, Florida.

TBE eventually took down the HTC Sixers in the Varsity Gold Division championship. The final score of that contest 57-52.

The team is mostly comprised of players from the Sunland Stingers’ basketball programme. Coach Denzel Knowles shared that while the win meant a lot for the team, knowing that the team had fun meant the most to the young coach. 

“We enjoyed the win. It’s always good to win but the most important part was that the guys had fun. They learned a lot and they bought in to what we were trying to do. That played a big role and they put their trust in me. That was a big key in us getting the wins. 

“We just want to get better and I just want to help these guys understand the game better and understand what it’s (competition) like over here. We play over here in this tournament every year and the coordinators always tell us that they love to watch us play,” he said.

Guards Rolantae Knowles and Oswald Meadows were key factors in leading TBE to success. Rolantae averaged 23.5 point per game. Overall, Coach Knowles concluded that a higher I.Q for the game of basketball is chief on his list for the players over the next few weeks.

“We just want to get better. The progress and I.Q. expanding is what we really want.”

TBE is set to compete at three other Dynasty Hoops events. Next on their schedule they will compete in the Dynasty Hoops Showcase Part One, July 12-14. They will the move on to Part Two of that Showcase set for July 26-28. Lastly, TBE will be present for the Dynasty National Championship on August 2-4. 

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