Calabar on course for national double
Calabar High School stayed on course for the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association national basketball double after beating Manchester High 41-38 in the Under-16 semi-final at Belair High School yesterday.
The Red Hills Road-based school had already booked their place in the Under-19 decider a day earlier, by defeating St Jago 53-50 in a close contest at the National Stadium courts.
Calabar, the Southern Conference junior and senior champions, can now add the two national titles to their Conference success, and coach Ludlow Barker hopes to create history by claiming their first all-island double.
"The players have worked hard for this and now we have a chance (to win both national titles) as we are in the finals, so now it's just to get these young men ready. We can't afford to let complacency set in. We have a complete team and once we play as a team and defend aggressively we will be fine, whether it's Under-16 or Under-19s," he told The Gleaner after yesterday's game.
Calabar will face Herbert Morrison in the Under-19 final and St Jago in the junior final. Both finals are set for G.C. Foster College tomorrow.
"It would be an unimaginable joy for me and overwhelming if we win both titles, but we believe we have enough to win all four. It would be the first time Calabar High School has done that (win national double) and we are happy to be here and we know we have a chance to win all four titles and we are ready to go," he added.
On Tuesday, Calabar's seniors overcame Kasies Clarke's game-high 24 points in a tough and intriguing battle to beat St Jago. Shemar Shand led Calabar with 17 points, supported by Javardo Simmonds, with 10 points and seven rebounds.
In the other semi-final yesterday, Herbert Morrison turned back former winners Ardenne 66-58 at MoBay Cricket Club to earn the right to face Calabar. Ralique Grant and Gregory Wallace led Herbert Morrison in scoring. Grant had 24 points and five steals, while Wallace scored 14 points and pulled down 13 rebounds.
Ardenne's Matthew Lee had a game-high 26 points and he was best supported by Justin Rhoden, with 11 points.
In yesterday's Under-16 semi-final, South Conference Under-16 MVP Jordon Kellier stood tall for Calabar, posting 19 points and 21 rebounds to lead the team to a three-point victory over Manchester High. Fian Brown also contributed 10 points. Rojay Graham was Manchester's top scorer, with 13 points.
In the other Under-16 semi-final, played on Tuesday, St Jago cruised to a 20-point win over Knox College, thanks to a game-high 22 points, 20 rebounds and five blocks from Lushane Wilson, who received good assistance from Jumario Grant, with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Alex Russell was Knox's top scorer, with 10 points.