It has been over two years since there has been competitive basketball played by local teams on St. Thomas and it showed as the only team from St. Croix endured to win the Four for Four Basketball Tournament this past weekend.
Hundreds of fans filled the Mark C. Marin Center on Antilles School campus over this three-day event to enjoy local men’s basketball. The event featured four teams from St. Thomas: Checkmate, Purple City, and Heavy Business. The Bank Killas traveled from St. Croix to round out this four-team field. Millennials Making Moves organized the tournament. They are a Democratic Party-based organization seeking to get younger people in the community to participate in the political process. “I have a democratic club named 3M or Millennials Making Moves, said Jed Elizee, president of 3M. “My club is geared to getting the young adults or millennials involved in the voting process.” The name of the tournament related to the Bryan Roach reelection committee, which was the main sponsor of this event.
“Since we decided just to have four teams and the Bryan Roach Committee was so heavily involved, we went with the four teams for four more years as a nice sloan for the tournament and it just stuck,” said Elizee. Sen. Donna Frett-Gregory was also a sponsor.
The tournament started Friday, Aug. 5, with two games. Checkmate opened with an impressive win over Heavy Business 90-71. Khalid Gerard led Checkmate with 27 points and 8 rebounds. Jeremiah James and Keandre Donovan were taking care of business for Heavy Business with 16 and 14 points respectively. In the nightcap, The Bank Killas held off a young and strong Purple City team, 87-85. Zion Jones dropped 22 points and Leonardo Castillo added 20 points for the winning team. Purple City was led by Xavier Richards 15 points.
The first game of the second day of the tournament was over early as Purple City sent Heavy Business into bankruptcy as they cruised to a 125-60 victory. Kehjayah Rogers was the top scorer for Purple City with 23 points. Teammate Ajani Blyden contributed 22 points and 10 rebounds for the winning team. The second game of the evening was much closer as Checkmate kept The Bank Killas in check securing an 85-81 win. Checkmate was led once again by Khalid Gerard with 37 points and 14 rebounds. Shakoi Peters also brought his hard hat as he dropped 23 points and collected 11 boards for the winners. Two of the five Jones brothers on The Bank Killas’ roster led the way. Zion Jones had 24 points and Jahmai Jones added 18.
The final day of the tournament saw three exciting games. Checkmate escaped with a 88-87 victory as Khalid Gerard nailed a shot in the key with under five seconds remaining on the clock. Gerard scored a tournament-high 48 points for Checkmate. Kehjayah Rogers and Amayoa’ah Phillips led Purple City with 23 and 21 points respectively. The win put Checkmate into the tournament’s championship game. In the sixth game of the tournament, The Bank Killas secured their place in the championship game with a 85-73 win over Heavy Business. Jahmai Jones 22 points and Zion Jones 21 points once again led the offensive attack for The Bank Killas. Heavy Business was led by Keandre Donovan and Jeremiah James with 24 and 21 points respectively.
The tournament’s championship match was also Sunday, after each team had already played one game for the afternoon. The Bank Killas proved their mental toughness as they handed Checkmate their first loss of the tournament with an 88-81 win. The victory crowned The Bank Killas, champions of the Four for Four Basketball Tournament. Zion Jones saved his best game for last as he dropped 34 points. Khalid Gerard led Checkmate with 28 points in a losing effort. Khalid Gerard was the top scorer of the tournament. His teammate, Shakoi Peters was the top rebounder. Zion Jones led the tournament in assists and also walked away with the tournament MVP trophy.