Virgin Gorda takes control of 25th MLK Jr. Basketball Classic | Island Sun

Virgin Gorda takes control of 25th MLK Jr. Basketball Classic

Virgin Gorda’s Team Elite is 2-0 in the Martin Luther King Jr. Basketball Classic

By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway

The road to the Sea Cows Bay Basketball Club 25th Anniversary Martin Luther King Jr. 16-18 Basketball Classic, will go through Virgin Gorda, after Team Elite improved to 2-0, with a thrilling 61-60 victory over District 5’s Willful Skillful on Saturday night in Sea Cows Bay.  

In Friday’s opener, Jahdnique Winchester had a game high 17 points in leading Virgin Gorda’s Team Elite to a 38-32 victory over District 6 Elite Ballers. Lekoy Leonard added 12 points and pulled 10 off the rack for his double. Nathan Francis narrowly missed a double double, settling for nine points and 17 rebounds as Elite Ballers top scorer. D’relle Clyne followed up with eight points.

“It’s been a while since the guys had an opportunity to showcase their talent, so I expected to see a little scruffiness and a little roughness in their game,” Team Elite Coach Joylon Wilson told Island Sun Sports. “Over on Virgin Gorda, I take my afternoons and weekends to work out the guys so I was really impressed they came out and play so aggressively today. Even though it was a close game, we still came out, fought hard and came out victorious.”

Elite Ballers Coach Carnel Clyne, told Island Sun Sports that his son asked him to coach the team and since it was his first day with them, he was trying to feel them out to find their best positions.

“They can play the game the right way, what they need is to compose themselves,” Clne noted. “They don’t need to overreact most of the time and sometimes they overreact and throw away the ball. If they compose themselves, they’ll be good.”

On Saturday, T’khoi Richardson had 16 points and five rebounds, Leonard narrowly missed a double double with 16 points and nine boards, while Nickel Stevens and Keishon Gordon added 10 points respectively to the tally, in their spine tingling, 61-60 triumph over Skillful Ballers. Lenrique Austrie paced Skillful Ballers with 16 points and five rebounds. Kyron Walwyn poured in a 10 points 13 boards double to go with seven blocks. Carlyiesis Benjamin finished with nine points and eight rebounds and Jaquan Hodge chipped in another eight point to the stat sheet.

After dropping Friday’s opener to Virgin ‘Gorda’s Team Elite, 38-33, District Six’s Elite Ballers overcame Antwon Robinson’s tournament high 33 points and 11 rebounds, to pin a second loss on District Seven’s Wolfpack, 53-50.  Requan Garroway led Elite Ballers with a 20 points 15 steals double, double. He also pulled five rebounds and dished out three assists. Francis added nine points and eight rebounds. T’coy Tyson chipped in eight points and eight rebounds for the Wolfpack.

The Wolfpack were coming off a Friday night 38-33 loss to BVI Ballers, in a game that was called with 3:26 left in the fourth quarter, after unsportsmanlike conduct from a Wolfpack player, who was also ejected during a 2015 game and has now been banned from all Sea Cows Bay Basketball Club activities.

Kymal Pancho was BVI Ballers top scorer with 17 points and Aaron Williams III followed up with 11.

Robinson narrowly missed a double double with 15 points and nine rebounds to lead Wolfpack scores. Kyle Lender had an 11 points 10 rebounds double double.

Milton McLean founded the tournament in 1996, two years after he became the Sea Cows Bay Basketball Club’s founding President on April 1, 1996.

“McLean, he’s a foundational piece in basketball,” Team Elite Coach Joylon Wilson who used to live in Sea Cows Bay, told Island Sun Sports. “That’s good he has kept it up for so long this is very important because that’s where the competitive nature builds. When you meet guys around your age, you become competitive. If they were playing against older guys, they’d get bullied, but guys around their age, they’re able to play freely.”

With current Cleveland State Basketball players D’Moi Hodge and Franklyn Penn and professional player in France Norville “Banana” Carey as well as several participants who have represented the BVI on national teams among 100s of players who have participated in the tournament over the last 25 years, Clyne said that McLean has been doing is very important. He said at the end of the day, there’s a need for youth development.

“We definitely need this because we have some good talent coming up,” he noted. “And that’s the reason why this league is so important to keep pushing these guys to go further and further.”

McLean said he thought the league that runs through Jan 23 went pretty well, the kids really came out to play and there were some very exciting games. From the first game, all the scores were close and there were no blow outs.

“We had some pretty good skills being displayed by these youngsters so we’re very pleased with how the whole thing started,” he said.