Duke, Blazing Heat and Hawks win 2013 Vita Malt Bequia Basketball Championships in their respective divisions!
Defending Champions Duke dominated the annual Bequia competition and defeated Rising Stars easily in two games of the Best of 3 finals to claim the gold medal of the First Division championship of the Vita Malta Bequia Basketball Tournament, which came to an exciting conclusion last Saturday August 31st at the Clive Tannis Hard Court.
In the Second Division, Blazing Heat came out victorious, also in two games of the Best of 3. The U16 competition saw Hawks defeat defending Champions Young Wizards to win the gold medal.
The Bequia Basketball Association, led by President Sabrina Mitchell put the 75 games of the Annual Championship into the history books on Saturday night, completing fifteen consecutive seasons of competition on the Grenadine Island! The annual competition began on July 13th with 15 participating teams competing in three divisions four times weekly. The tournament concluded on its scheduled closing date.
The U16 category, with players between age 5 and 15 was the most competitive division in 2013 with most games being closely contested between the young ball players, whose enthusiasm is admirable. Families come out in their numbers to support their children’s teams. With the rapid growth and skills of teams in this young division, it is clear that the continuity of basketball in Bequia for the foreseeable future is guaranteed, ensuring a feeder system for the older divisions! This Division is nurtured by the Association, who cover all expenses for the young players.
In the First Division Duke Coach Seneca McIntosh knocked out 4th place Gladiatorz in the semi finals last week, while second place Rising Stars defeated third place East Blazers in a close semi final knock out game to make it to the final series. The scoring prowess of Duke’s shooting guards Stevorn Taylor and Ishama McKree and center Jonas King was not matched by Rising Stars, despite the stellar efforts of Center Kirstin Lampkin and sidekick point guard Chaz Compton who fought an uphill battle from the outset.
In addition to gold and silver medals and trophies for the winning teams, individual awards in the all divisions were presented, according to carefully kept statistics by a trained cadre of 40 table officials whose diligent record keeping ensures fairness and accuracy in these awards.
In the First Division Stevorn Taylor was awarded Most Valuable Player overall as well as his team’s MVP. Teammate Ishama McKree however was adjudged the Finals MVP for his effort in the two game series. Kirstin Lampkin of the silver medal Rising Stars was adjudged his team’s MVP, and also had the most points in the tournament with 154 in 8 games. Teammate Chaz Compton was presented with the most improved player award. Kelan Edwards of East Blazers was his team’s MVP, while Keon Skinner of Warriaz and Ewing Andrews of last place Gladiators were their team MVP. Duke also walked away with three more individual awards as power forward Lamont Gordon took both the most assists and most blocks trophies with 27 and 14 respectively in 8 games and Jonas King, had the most rebounds with 123.
In the second division Blazing Heat defeated Rising Stars Junior team in two games. However, the silver medalists power centre Austin Derrick was awarded that division’s Most Valuable Player overall as well as for his team. He also had the most rebounds with 85 in 6 games, and the most blocks with 24. Team Mate Sharas Foyle had the most points with 119 in 6 games The Champions’ Mark Browne was awarded most assists with 16 and his team mate Denroy Hutchins adjudged the most improved player. In the final series Mickel Joseph was adjudged that series MVP.
In the U16 Division, individual awards went as follows: to the most improved player in 2013,Titans Kirsty Bailey for most points (147 in 10 games), and most steals (60 in 10 games) His brother Kirsta had the most assists with 12 in 10 games. Last year’s MVP Givin Forde repeated his Overall MVP award, taking the title once again in 2013, although his team was knocked out in the semi finals. Givin was also adjudged Dragons MVP, had the most rebounds and most blocks with 185 and 33 respectively. Gold medalists Hawks scoring leader Cody Compton was recognized as MVP of the Final series and his team’s MVP. Jermaine John of Silver medal team Young Wizards was his team’s MVP and Anthony Thomas was Hornets MVP.
In her closing remarks, Mitchell gave a special thank you to the tournament sponsors, Vita Malt and the St. Vincent Brewery, Courts SVG Ltd, Frangipani Hotel and Vintages Bequia and Passoa, as well as the Bequia business community, patrons and fans for their continued partnership and financial support of basketball in Bequia. She told the patrons to give themselves a round of applause for putting 15 years of basketball in the history books. She thanked all the volunteer officials who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure a smooth and successful competition, ranging from executive members, table officials, referees, gate officials, security, bartenders, Dj’s, and cleaners. Special recognition was given to Games Secretary Michael Peniston whose organizational competence was to be commended in coordinating officials for every single game night! She welcomed and thanked visiting FIBA Referees Rene Batson and Jennifer Hackett of Barbados for providing the high standard of officiating in the final series, along with colleagues Shem Ollivierre, Michael Peniston, and the team of excellent referees from Bequia who continue to lead the way in officiating in SVG! Finally, a special appreciation award was given to Bartender Brinsley Ollivierre for his 10 years of service to Bequia Basketball.
The Association will celebrate its Sixteenth Competition in 2014, opening on July 12th, 2014.