Wildcats force game three

LEADING THE PROWL – The Jack Hayward Wildcats forced a game three in the Derek Nesbitt/Obie Wilchcombe High School Basketball League senior boys’ championship this past Friday at the Jack Hayward Gymnasium. Pictured above left, McKell Bethel, left and Jalen Hall, right, led the charge with 13 points each. The win tied the best of three series at 1-1. The third and final game takes place this evening at the Jack Hayward Gym at 5:30p.m. (PHOTOS: SHAYNE STUBBS)

The Jack Hayward Wildcats are back in business!

After an upsetting game-one loss to the Tabernacle Falcons last Wednesday night, the Wildcats needed a full team effort, this past Friday, to avoid a 2-0 sweep.

The Wildcats responded as was most necessary and answered the challenge at the Jack Hayward Gymnasium. Tonight, game three of the Grand Bahama Secondary School Athletic Association: Derek Nesbitt/Obie Wilchombe High School League Senior Boys Championship is set for 6:00 p.m this evening at the St. George’s Gymnasium.

After several lead changes on Friday, the Wildcats eventually put the defending GBSSAA champions to bed with a 48-45 victory. Jalen Hal and McKell Bethel led the Wildcats’ prowl with 13 points each.

Clevon Clarke got the wildcats off to a strong start with back to back triples to kick off the first quarter. A reverse lay-in by Hall capped an early 8-0 run for the Wildcats.

The Falcons responded with a well balanced attack to climb back into the match and trailing just 12-1 at the end of the first quarter.

The defending champions took a 13-12 lead to jump start the second quarter. But, the Wildcats surged with a 7-1 run to lead 19-13 midway through the second stanza. The Wildcats ultimately held a 22-19 lead headed into halftime.

Both teams have demonstrated adeptness in third quarter play. The players on both sides came out in the third firing on all cylinders and trading baskets. The Wildcats, though, eventually took a 28-25 lead with just over five minutes left in the quarter.

Later on in the third, Falcons’ guard Ethan Munroe knocked down a corner three, off the assist from Desmond Butler (12 points) to tie the game at 28-28. On the Falcons’ following possession Butler finished strong through traffic for a 30-28 lead with just over three minutes left in the third.

Two free throws from Butler gave the Falcons a 32-28 lead. But with a minute left the Wildcats tied the game at 32 apiece. The score remained tied headed into the fourth quarter.

An electric fourth quarter saw the pressure build for both squads. The Falcons held a 40-39 advantage with under three minutes to go in the quarter.

The Falcons also, later maintained a 42-41 edge before a lay-up from Hall gave the Wildcats a 43-42 lead. Butler answered back with a lay-up of his own to recapture the lead at 44-43.

With 1:02 left Bethel gave the Wildcats a 45-44 lead after making a pair of free throws. With 40 seconds left Hall was sent to the free throw line and made it a 46-44 game, after going one for two on his free throw attempts.
With pressure mounting and only 28.5 seconds left to tick in regulation, Falcons’ center Shyronne Kemp was sent to the line where he went one-for-two from the charity stripe to make it a 46-45 game in favor of JHH. The Wildcats held that same edge with 18 seconds left. Bethel gave the Wildcats a two point lead, 47-45, after making just one of his two attempts from the free throw line.

The Falcons missed another opportunity to tie or take the lead. With 5.4 seconds left Hall was sent back to the free throw line and was able to make it a 48-45 game. The Falcons were able to advance the ball past half court but a last second three from Regis Cooper (12 points) fell short.

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