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Grenada, Haiti, Antigua and Suriname add wins on Day 3
SURINAME (FIBA AmeriCup 2021 Caribbean Pre-Qualifiers) - It was a tense game between St. Lucia and Grenada on the third match day. From the first quarter St. Lucia took the lead with 23 - 14 which they held on until the last 5 minutes of the game. It was Greneda then who took over the initiative and built a small scoring advantage; St. Lucia couldn’t regain the lead and lost the game with 69 - 73. The coach of Grenada was happy with the win, and he saw his side doing their uttermost best to bring the win home. They had a better game planning and execution and worked together as a team. Kevin Cox was their top scorer with 13 points but Elmon Williams (12 points), Daniel Regis (11 points) and Jonathan Williams (10 points) were in the double digits as well.
On the St. Lucian side Yandell Denis had a good performance of 18 points, but good support from John Paul (11 points) and Ron Dumurville (10 points).
Grenada needed the win to stay in the running for a chance to get in the semi-finals. They now rely on Suriname and St. Lucia to beat Guyana at least one game, and they need to win their next game against St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
It was a hard fought match between Barbados vs Antigua and Barbuda which eventually ended in a 55 - 62 win for the Antiguan side. The game was fairly level after the first game of the game; it was the second quarter which saw a dramatic turn of events. The Antiguan side maintained a minimal advantage of 3 points on average throughout the first 2 quarters, but 2 minutes into the third quarter Barbados took the lead. This took Atigua off-guard, the incread the pressure within the paint and regained the lead in the last minute of the quarter. It was through Vivian Destin’s jump shot which brought the score on 45 - 46 in favor of Antigua.
In the press conference the coach of Barbados expressed his disappointment in losing the match; he believes that his team is capable of much more. They will need to improve their game strategy in order to get a good classification in the tournament. On the other side the Antiguan coach was happy with the result. He did observe a slowdown in scoring of his players, but they recovered on time to claim the victory.
In the fourth quarter Barbados couldn’t regain the lead and they couldn’t maintain Vivian Destin of Antigua, who gave it his all and making his shots count. Destin became top scorer for his side with 15 points and together with Cohen Jr. Zantaya Desouza (10 points). They made the difference in the match. On the Barbadian side there was Andre Lockhart who had a good 18 points followed by Keefe Birkett with 13 points.
With this win Antigua secured their spot for the finals by having 6 competition points. Their next opponent is the impressive Haiti which promises to be a spectacular match between the two sides.
Haiti achieved a record score of 110 - 50 against Montserrat. The Haitian side came well-prepared to the tournament and what a statement they made! In the first quarter they allowed their opponents to score only 4 points and at halftime they had already outscored Montserrat with 59 - 16. At least 6 players of Haiti made double digit scores where Farnold Degand was the leader with 23 points. Clide Geffrard Jr achieved a double double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Their strategy was to use their better physique and drive to the bucket, they also played a good 3-point game and made an impressive 11 shots from distance. The Haitian coach was happy with the victory and said that his squad played as how they’ve trained. Chad Kirnon was the top scorer of Montserrat with 22 points.
Haiti maintained their 100% score and will face Antigua and Barbuda, also with a perfect score out of 3 games, to determine who will be leader in poule B. This will be an interesting match up, because both teams have a strong gameplay, and they’re seen as the toughest opponents to beat in the tournament.
It was a dramatic encounter between the host Suriname and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Both teams battled continuously for the lead and this went back and forth 20 times in total! Suriname ended the first quarter with a 3 point advantage but saw the lead to go St. Vincent at halftime, the score was 33 - 37. The struggle to be in the lead continued between the teams and it was St. Vincent again who stayed on top at the end of the quarter. On the Surinamese side Dancell Leter was playing his best match in the tournament and St. Vincent had difficulties with containing him in the defense.
The last quarter became intense and the Suriname had the advantage of a very supportive home crowd, this seemed intimidating for St. Vincent for as they saw multiple goal attempts not converting. With one minute to go, and the score at 72 - 75, Leter made the drive to the bucket and was fouled by Chrisford Telesword of St. Vincent. Leter successfully made both free throws and brought closed the gap with 74 - 75. St. Vincent quickly switched to offense and Telesford made a lay-up bringing the advantage for St. Vincent on three points with 30 seconds to go until the end of the quarter. Suriname got the offense and it was once again Leter who made the drive to the bucket and drew the attention of his opponents. This enabled him to make the pass to Gylan Watamaleo whose guard was too far, and he made the 3-pointer to level the score at 77 - 77. With 20 seconds to go St. Vincent made an error and saw the possesion go to Suriname, in the last seconds they fumbled for the ball and the buzzer sounded for overtime! In overtime Suriname made the difference in the last 2 minutes especially through the efforts of Leter, and they eventually won the battle with 88 - 86.
Dancell Leter of Suriname had a stellar performance with a double double of 33 points and a record 33 rebounds. Gylan Watamaleo was also critical in the win with 16 points in total. St. Vincent saw also some great performances from Chrisford Telesford (double double 29 points and 10 rebounds) and Phillip Lawrence-Ricks (26 points).
Suriname has secured a spot in the finals, in their next game against Guyana they can determine if they will close the preliminaries as leader of their poule. St. Vincent need to win their next game against Grenada and they will hope to see Guyana lose 2 consecutive games in order to still be able to qualify for the next round.