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V.I. Junior Hoops Team Gets First Victory in Centro Basket 2007

Aug. 3, 2007 — The V.I. junior basketball team finally picked up its first win of Centro Basket 2007 by defeating Trinidad and Tobago 85-73 Thursday afternoon.
The V.I. team led 37-35 at halftime, and its players put on a defensive clinic in the third quarter to separate themselves from the overwhelming bigger team. The V.I. team held Trinidad to just 15 points in the quarter while putting up 25 of their own.
"Trinidad has a seven-foot, 280-pound center (Kyle Rowley) that did whatever he wanted to do," said V.I. assistant coach Pedrito Estrill. "We put significant pressure on their guards to limit his touches, and it worked."
Curtio Fredricks and Kyle Sylvester were the catalyst for the separation, as both had their best games of the tourney. Fredricks finished with a team-high 29 points, while Sylvester tallied eight points and nine rebounds.
"Four hours before the game, I worked with Fredricks on his shot," said head coach Jareem Dowling. "I told him to hold his shot a little longer and he put on a shooting exhibition. Curtio was on fire, knocking down ESPN-type highlight shots."
Meanwhile, Sylvester complemented Fredericks’ finesse with grit and hustle.
"Sylvester surprised me," Dowling continued. “He was a man on a mission. He is only 6-foot-1, but Kyle was banging with the big bodies and was diving on the floor for loose balls. His blocked shots changed the direction of the game."
Moriba De Freitas and Ashton Demurrell led Trinidad (0-3) with 16 points apiece, while Rowley chipped in with 12.
The V.I. team (1-2) is still in the hunt for a qualifying spot for the 2008 Tournament of the Americas. They would have to defeat the Bahamas Friday and Mexico Saturday for any hopes of advancing.
In other scores, Puerto Rico (3-0) picked up a 116-84 win over the Bahamas (1-2), while the Dominican Republic (2-1) defeated Mexico (2-1) by a 82-79 margin.
Only the top four teams will qualify for the next round of play, the FIBA Under-18 Championships for men — also known as the Tournament of the Americas.
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