If you thought that primary school basketball couldn’t provide late game drama and heroics you thought wrong.
The Grand Bahama Primary School Athletic Association’s: Jimmy Culmer/Keith Mullings Primary School Basketball Championships came to a chaotic close this past Tuesday at the St. George’s Gymnasium.
For the Walter Parker Pacers, they put themselves on the fast track in the Sports School of Champions race, after picking up both titles in the girls and boys’ divisions. Of course, it didn’t come without providing a few nail biting moments.
The Lady Pacers took on the Lady Eagles of Lewis Yard Primary in the first championship game of the afternoon. The Eagles had things in control early on in the eight-minute half and led 6-1 halfway through. But the Lady Pacers used a 5-0 run to tie things up at six apiece headed into halftime. But the second half provided zero fruit for both programs as a scoreless second half set the table for overtime.
It only took one free throw to give the Pacers the 7-6 lead for good to ground the Eagles in the extra period. Takeithra Hanna sparked the Lady Pacers with six points and was dubbed the Most Valuable Player of the Contest. Demetria Rolle powered the Eagles with all six points.
It was a long a road to glory for the Lady Pacers and now they’ve realized their dream of hoisting up the GBPSAA crown. Coach Dot Russell gave all the credit to the girls for their endless dedication that led to the championship win.
“It was the sweet smell of victory,” Russell chimed, “Those girls practiced every break time and every lunch time. Hard work truly pays off and they were determined. Hats off to them.
“At first they were cold, they were not defending the ball and allowing the other team to just take control. But after calling a time out and then telling them the game was theirs and they are the champions they pulled up their socks. It was just determination.”
The Pacers looked to build on their championship success as the boys took on the Eagles of Freeport Gospel Chapel. In go-ahead fashion, eventual MVP, Kieano Rolle, lifted the Pacers to victory with a buzzer beating basket for the 19-17 victory. Rolle charged the Pacers with 10 points. Stephano Saunders paced the runners-up with six points in the loss.
The Pacers held the early advantage in the half and went into halftime with a 9-7 lead. The Pacers seemed poised to run away with the win but the Eagles kept in striking distance. They trailed the Pacers by four points for most of the second half before eventually tying the game at 17 apiece with 21.5 seconds left to spare. Ultimately, the Eagles were heartbroken as the time expired.
Third place in the girls division went to the FGC Eagles. They took on a tough and feisty West End Primary team but eventually walked away with a 4-2 victory. As for the primary school boys, the Maurice Moore Raccoons quieted the Mary, Star Crusaders in a down to the wire affair. The Raccoons out-lasted the Crusaders 10-9 to win third place.