Rhodes Hall capture historic first girl’s basketball title
Rodene Morris was on fire in Thursday's final of the Western Basketball Association-ISSA Girls' Open Championship top-scoring with 32 points to lead Rhodes Hall High to their first-ever title, a 50-37 victory over Spot Valley High at the Montego Bay Cricket Club.
Holland High edged Mt. Alvernia High 28-27 in a tense third-place match that preceded the final.
Morris' all-round athletic ability was on full display as she not only scored at will, but also made herself useful as part of a strong Rhodes Hall second-half defensive effort, grabbing two rebounds to go with two blocked shots and three steals. Her teammate, Keron Brown, added 12 points and two steals in the historic win.
The bulk of Spot Valley's points came from Nassan-Gay Ricketts, who had 18 points, five rebounds, three steals and two assists, mostly in the first two quarters. But her endeavour was outdone by the talented Morris.
Her easy lay-up, immediately after the tip-off, gave Rhodes Hall the first bucket of the afternoon and thereafter Morris needed little invitation to shoot as she took full advantage of some indecisive Spot Valley defending, especially in the last quarter.
Notwithstanding, it was Spot Valley who held the lead at the end of the first quarter, with Ricketts doing the bulk of the work early on for a 12-9 margin.
Ricketts and Brown combined well in the second quarter and it looked then that they were well on their way to the crown, outscoring Rhodes Hall 11-8 in the second stanza for a 23-17 lead at the half-time break.
It was a completely different scenario in the third quarter, however, as Rhodes Hall, led by Morris, found their groove, making shots after shots to pull the game back after three keenly contested quarters at 29-28.
Spot Valley never recovered and it gave Brown and Morris the fuel needed to win it for their school with a flurry of points in the paint, to waltz to a first-ever high school title, boy or girl, in the school's history.
Both schools will now turn their attention to the all-island play-offs set for GC Foster College.