Timely floaters Monday from Ivanna Eudora Kean’s Jahkwani Williams helped the Devil Rays hold off the Barracudas from St. Croix Educational Complex, 43-38, and take home the 2017 Martin Luther King, Jr. Tournament varsity boys’ title.
In the girls’ championship game, Keans’ Lady Rays fell 33-20 to the St. Croix Central High School Caribs.
The annual basketball tournament at Kean’s gym gave the Rays a chance to represent on their home court.
In the boys; tourney, Monday’s championship game went back and forth early and with 4:20 left in the first half, a three pointer from Complex’s Joseph Narinesingh tied the score at 17. Kean responded with an 8-0 run led by Jeremiah James, who hit one free throw and three-pointer, and Williams, who hit two of his floaters in the lane to bring the score to 25-17, Kean.
But fouls late in the period helped Complex cut the lead to four, making the score 25-21, Kean at the half.
The Barracudas came out aggressive in the second half and after Shakeem Alcindor’s turnaround jumper, it was Complex that had the lead, 28-25. But Kean responded again, this time with a 13-3 run, again led by Williams, who had six of those points. With about two minutes left in game, the Rays held a 40-31 lead. Kean held on for the 43-38 victory and the title.
“We deserved this win,” Kean coach Ronnie Cummings said after the game. “You know, we recently went out to Puerto Rico and it wasn’t what we thought it was going to be, and that’s because we went out there and our expectations for ourselves were too high and we didn’t meet them. This tournament was redemption for my boys. They got a hunger that they’ve been missing. When you’re a wolf you got to eat, and we’re not sheep, we’re wolves.”
Cummings added that the team’s perseverance is what pushed his players through.
“You know, perseverance, it’s like that water outside,” Cummings said. “You look at the sea out there, it looks calm. But underneath it, there’s movement. The race is not won by he who is the fastest, but one that endures to the end and that’s what we did. We endured until the end. From the weakest player to the strongest player, we made our free throws at the end, Mr. Williams here played his heart out, and that’s what you do. Persevere.”
In the girls’ championship game, Keans’ Lady Rays weren’t as lucky, falling 33-20 to the St. Croix Central High School Caribs. The Caribs took an 18-7 lead into half and, coming out of the break kept the pressure on, bringing the score to 25-9 by the five-minute mark in the third quarter.
That’s when the Lady Rays found their second wind, and back-to-back shots from Tecoya Martin cut the lead to six, 24-18. But that was as close as Kean would get. The Lady Caribs outscored the Rays 9-2 down the stretch and held on for the win.
Tournament awards went to:
Boys’ Most Valuable Player: Lestin Wiltshire, Elmore Stoutt High School (Tortola)
Girls’ Most Valuable Player: Jendeyi Williams, Central High (St. Croix)
Sportsmanship: Joseph Narinesingh, Educational Complex (St. Croix)
Delma Baron, Eudora Kean (St. Thomas)
Three-point Shootout Winners: Joseph Narinesingh, Educational Complex (boys)
Shauliqua Fahie, Elmore Stoutt High School (girls)