By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Hosts BVI opened the 22nd Caribbean Basketball Confederation Men’s Championships preliminary rounds with wins over St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Cayman Islands on Monday and Tuesday.
In its opener, the BVI had the pressure on St. Vincent and the Grenadines with a 16 points lead, eased it off, then had to regroup to fend off their challenger for a hard fought 84-69 victory.
“We had this team down then we let them back in, but we showed that we got depth and the guts to come back and win,” coach Keith “88” Malone said of the game that saw St. Vincent using a 16-4 run in the last 4:19 of the third quarter to end the period trailing 59-56, then got within 63-60 with 8:42 left in the game before Halstead Chiverton’s 3-pointer, triggered a 7-2 run and a 70-62 lead. “We have some cleaning up to do and we’re going to do that.”
St. Vincent’s coach Justin Scott said the BVI made a few more runs that they did. “I think the shot the three ball well, I pretty much think that was the difference in the game,” he analyzed. “Just giving the Vincy team where we’ve been in the past, just trying to learn how to win when we get the game close, stay mentally focused and not be satisfied with being close, I think they were a little bit more seasoned that us down the stretch and they made a couple more plays.”
Chiverton who hit 4 of 6 trey’s in the second half including two with under 2 minutes left, led the BVI scores with 18 points—10 in the fourth quarter. Randy George added 16. Kelvin Samuel poured in 15 and had six assists. Norville Carey contributed a 13 points 10 rebounds double double.
Alexis Foyle was St. Vincent’s top scorer with a game high 29 points and seven rebounds. Shaun King dominated the boards with 15 rebounds including 10 defensive to go with 11 points for his double, double. Sean Baptiste added another 11 points.
In their next game, the BVI overcame a two points deficit with second quarter back to back 3-pointers from Kennedy Bass and Kelvin Samuel to take control of the game, then went on to overrun the Cayman Islands, 92-78.
Down 30-32 with 3:29 in the second half, Bass’ trey followed by that of Samuel, ignited a 14-4 run that saw the 2-0 BVI take a 44-36 halftime lead after the Cayman Islands—who lost to the U.S. Virgin Islands on Monday—control the game for most of the first 16 minutes of play.
“We had a rocky start, but as a team, you need to know what kind of depth you have and what kind of heart you have in your players and tonight, I think we displayed some heart, sticking to it and we came out with a victory,” Malone said, noting that turnovers was one of the early challenges. “Anytime that we eliminate the turnovers, take care of the basketball and make good shots, we’ll be alright.”
The BVI had 27 turnovers to the Cayman Islands’ 10. The Cayman Islands had a 25-15 edge in points off those turnovers. “We lost our poise early,” Malone said, which helped the Cayman Islands take a 20-16 first quarter lead. “This is something we can’t do, especially against other teams. Hopefully, we can correct that.”
The BVI who had its biggest lead of 22 points however, dominated the boards, 59-27, and got good work from its bench, over the Caymans, 31-13.
Bass and Samuel had 15 points to lead five BVI players in double digits. Halstead Chiverton added 13, Norville Carey came off the bench and dropped in 11 while Randy George finished with 10.
Samuel O’Garro had 16 of his game high 25 points in the first half for the Cayman Islands. Jorge Ebanks followed up with 23 and Shaad O’Garro contributed another 13.