Calabar basketballers set sights on ISSA all-island title
Coach Ludlow Barker says Calabar High are now setting their sights on lifting a third consecutive all island title after beating Camperdown High, in game three of the ISSA Southern Conference schools basketball final at G.C. Foster on Wednesday.
Calabar won the series 2-1 to claim their second successive hold on the title. In a repeat of last season's final, Calabar held on to beat their opponents 64-61 in a pulsating match. The champions raced into a 14-8 lead after the first quarter and were ahead 31-24 at the half-time break. They increased their advantage to 10 points (57-47) at the end of the third quarter after outscoring their opponent 26-23 in that stanza.
However, the Oneil Brown-coached team came storming back in the final period but Calabar held out until the final whistle. Barker said it was the championship pedigree of his players which saw them through the nervy last few moments of the games.
"Camperdown kept plugging away, stepping up on defence and we made some mistakes and they got back in the game. But we are a championship team and we handled the pressure at the end and came through with the victory," he said.
"We are still not finished because we have a goal in mind. Our objective is to take the all island triple. We gave up our summer, our Christmas and really put in the work and now we are reaping the rewards. We are taking it one step at a time, as we are in no hurry, it is a process and we respect all teams," he added.
Meanwhile, Camperdown's Brown thought poor officiating denied his team the comeback but said they are looking to make amends with the national title.
"We started out slow but got back in the game. But the last five minutes I though poor officiating cost us. When the game is that close the officials have to let both teams play to decide who wins the game," Brown said.
Calabar's Shyeim Powell was named MVP of the finals and received a 10" tablet courtesy of overseas-based past players. The all-island play-offs will begin on Monday.