Bahamas Beaten In Davis Cup After Doubles Loss

By BRENT STUBBS

Senior Sports Reporter

bstubbs@tribunemedia.net

DORAL Park, Miami: Not even a last minute change in the line-up could help the Bahamas from preventing Venezuela from taking a winning 3-0 in the first round of the American Zone II Davis Cup tie on Saturday afternoon.

After losing the two singles on Friday, the Bahamas pinned all hopes on player/captain Marvin Rolle and Spencer Newman, but even that combination could not stop the Venezuelan pair of Louis David Martinez and Jordi Munoz-Abreu from securing a 6-3, 7-5, 6-1 win to clinch the best-of-five tie.

They will come back on Sunday to complete the tie with the reverse singles, which will be reduced to the best-of-three sets as the match is already decided.

“We felt very good about winning the tie, but the Bahamas was a very good competition and it wasn’t easy winning in three,” Martinez said. “We really wanted to clinch it on Sunday but it’s good that we got it over and done with.”

Munoz-Abreu said it was a great team victory. “We felt very good about winning the tie today, but the Bahamas was a very good competitive,” he added. “We were expecting it to be decided on Sunday, but it’s good that we won it today.”

The Bahamas originally had Rolle and Justin Lunn scheduled to play the doubles but after losing the two singles, Rolle said they tried to give it their best shot of staying alive in the tie.

“I think overall we made a good decision. It could have been where I put PJ (Philip Major Jr) in and it could have been the same result. People would say put Spencer in. That’s how it go sometimes. But we just have to look to the future and work on things from there.”

Rolle said they gave it a good fight. “Those guys are definitely a little more experienced than us, that’s why they been in zone II for so long,” Rolle said. “They have points, but we left it all out there for the Bahamas. That’s all we could ask for.”

For Newman, he felt the Bahamas were right in the match and while they had their opportunities, they didn’t capitalised on them and that made the difference.

“If anything, we know that with the preparation that we had going into the tie, we could change that up a bit,” Newman stressed.

As for playing with Rolle, Newman said they couldn’t ask for a better combination. “Marvin has quicker hands than anyone I could want and because he’s been playing longer than me, there is still much that I can learn from him,” he said. “I thought we went out there and gave our best. We just fell short at the end.”

In the first set, Newman was broken at 3-1 and Venezuela went on to serve out for the initial lead.

The Bahamas got their first break for a 2-0 lead in the second set, but Newman was then broken. Newman was broken again at 6-5 and the left-handed Munoz-Abreu held serve to snatch a 2-0 lead in sets.

In the third set, Newman was broken again as Venezuela opened a 2-1 lead. There was some controversy as they called a let and had to replay the point. Venezuela went on to break Rolle as they went up 4-1.

On another advantage, Newman hit a volley long as Venezuela broke him to end the set, take the match and clinch the tie.

Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association president Elwood Donaldson said he was pleased with the team effort.

“We gave it our best. It appeared to me that Marvin played very good, but Spencer was a little off his game,” Donaldson stressed. “Venezuela is the number two seed in this zone and it appeared that you have to be on top of your game because they have two players who are very good at the net.

“We will probably look at going back and working on our strategy to get the team to build the chemistry so when we play again in April, we will have to be better prepared.”

Although the Bahamas lost the tie, the team is still eligible to play in the second round to remain in Zone II. If they lose that tie, the Bahamas will be relegated to Zone III for next year. The Bahamas will play the loser of the tie between Bolivia and El Salvador on April 7-9.

On Sunday, they are expected to play the reverse singles, but Rolle said he was not sure who will play. With the tie already decided, he said Lunn may get his first opportunity to play a Davis Cup tie. He is still debating whether he or Philip Major Jr will play the other match.

Bahamas Half Marathon All Set For November 20

WITH about 400 registered participants, the 2016 Bahamas Half Marathon is in full swing for Sunday, November 20.

The fun is scheduled to begin 6am at Arawak Cay.

For the 4th year, Bahamas Roadmasters Running Club will be hosting the event, and donating part of the proceeds to a local charity.

This year they have named the Crisis Center and Lupus 242 as the recipients. Caribbean Bottling Company (CBC), the local distributors of Coca-Cola products, including Powerade and Dasani, will be hydrating all participants for the 3rd consecutive year.

“The Bahamas Roadmasters and the Bahamas Half Team are looking forward to another fun and exciting event. We are thankful for our sponsors, especially CBC for continuing to support us with beverages, t-shirts, and participant bags,” said Anastasia Turnquest, secretary, Bahamas Roadmasters Running Club. “We are excited to add to this event with both the 5K, and a one-mile course for people in wheelchairs as well. Join us on Sunday for a world class event.”

“Here at Caribbean Bottling Company we believe in supporting activities and events that encourage healthy living and community outreach,” said Karla Wells-Lisgaris, brand manager. “The Bahamas Half Marathon allows us to do this, while assisting a great group to host an amazing event that will this year benefit both the Crisis Center and Lupus 242.”

With options ranging from a half marathon to a 10K and 5K, this event is truly for everyone. Registration is open both online at www.bahamashalf.com and at the Sports Center in the Harbour Bay Shopping Center until November 19.

Basketball Showcase To Feature Six Us High Schools

By BRENT STUBBS

Senior Sports Reporter

bstubbs@tribunemedia.net

BAHAMIAN DeAndre Ayton, the top ranked high school basketball prospect, will lead a field of talented players coming to town this weekend to participate in the ‘Sands Between Your Toes’ Basketball Showcase.

The showcase, featuring six visiting high schools from the United States and four teams from the Bahamas, two out of New Providence and Grand Bahama each, is all set to be held on Friday and Saturday at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium.

Kevin ‘KJ’ Johnson said this provides an unique opportunity for the public to see Ayton in action before he begins his journey to the next level at college where he has already signed to play for the Arizona Wildcats next year, turning down offers from the Kansas Jayhawks, Kentucky Wildcats, Maryland Terrapins and the San Diego State Aztecs.

“DeAndre always wanted to come home. I coached him when he was 14-15 in the summer time and he played with me in the Summer of Thunder when we beat North Carolina,” Johnson said. “That’s how we built the relationship.

“But he always wanted to come home before he goes to college. His people planned it along with me. I’m helping them out, making sure everything is organized on this end to bring him home to play before his people. He wants the Bahamian people to know who DeAndre Ayton is before he goes to college and hopefully by the grace of God, the NBA.”

While he’s the top ranked player going into college, Johnson said Ayton is already projected to be the next Ben Simmons going into the NBA draft.

“It’s just a projection, but his projection is huge when it comes to a Bahamian player coming back home to compete in front of his Bahamian people.”

Ayton, the 7-foot-0, 220-pound centre, will lead Hillcrest Prep out of Phoenix, Arizona when they take on the 22 Feet Academy in their first game 8pm Friday. They will play their second game on Saturday against The Conrad Academy at the same time.

The other two visiting high schools out of the United States are Victory Rock Prep and The Tech Academy.

“We want the Bahamian public to understand that this is going to be a high level high school basketball showcase,” Johnson said. “We want our Bahamian players to understand how important it is to play at this high level and if they want to play at this high level, they have to really train and put in the work.

“Definitely DeAndre is the feature and centre of attraction. We want to highlight what he is doing over there (in the United States), how good he is and everybody will get a chance to see just how good he is projected to be.”

While the six foreign schools will be matched against each other in the five match series on both days, the local teams from Grand Bahama and New Providence will square off against each other in the early game at 3:30pm and the feature game at 9:30pm.

“We know that we are probably not ready because the competition is keen and to play against one of those teams, you want to be able to play at a high level that these guys play at,” Johnson said.

“You’re talking about at least six of the top 15 players projected to go to the NBA coming here to play this weekend. I’m not saying we can’t compete, but at the same time, are we ready to compete at this level? I’m not knocking our teams, but it’s a totally different level right now.”

Johnson said it would be good for the local teams to get the exposure, but he admitted that it’s just not possible at this time, so the foreign teams will compete against each other and the local teams will be matched against each other.

The scheduled for this weekend’s showcase is as follows:

Friday

3:30pm – CC Sweeting vs St George’s

5pm – Victory Rock Prep vs The Tech Academy

6:30 pm – The Conrad Academy vs Prolific Prep

8pm – 22 Feet Academy vs Hillcrest Prep

9:30pm – CI Gibson vs Tabernacle Christian Academy

Saturday

3:30pm – Tabernacle Christian Academy vs CC Sweeting

5pm – Prolific Prep vs Victory Rock Prep

6:30pm – The Tech Academy vs 22 Feet Academy

8pm – The Conrad Academy vs Hillcrest Academy

9:30pm – CI Gibson vs St George’s High

Bahamas Association Of Certified Officials Hosts Iaaf Certification Course

BAHAMAS Association of Certified Officials (BACO) recently hosted a IAAF Certification course for members at the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium.

The course was conducted by the brother-sister team of Frank ‘Pancho’ Rahming and Stephanie Rahming-Taylor.

The top award went to Dwight Gibson, a former sprinter at St Augustine’s College, and the father of long/triple jumper Danielle Gibson.

The course, organized by BACO, was designed to get more qualified officials to assist in the officiating of the sport of track and field.

Work On The New Baseball Stadium Going As Planned

By BRENT STUBBS

Senior Sports Reporter

bstubbs@tribunemedia.net

WORK on the new Andre Rodgers Baseball Stadium, with a synthetic field, is going as planned, on schedule and on budget, according to Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr Daniel Johnson.

His comments came yesterday as he, along with architect Michael Foster, brought the media up to date on the latest developments of the 4,500 spectators’ seating stadium, which will occupy 24.80 acres of land at the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex.

Director of Sports Timothy Munnings said the Ministry would hold periodic briefings as they continue with the construction.

“In the next couple of weeks, you will see a lot of flat beds with the framework, the roof, the carriages for the grandstand and most of the copper structure on site,” said Foster, whose AR Concepts, The Bahamian Architect Group, is responsible for the designing of the stadium.

“We played a trick on the media and the public. The typical Bahamian, you say you are going to do something and they don’t understand the process. They want to see something tomorrow. The people who follow sports in our country are very cruel. I understand that.”

To ensure that everything would be in place, Foster said the company which manufactured the stadium, began the process from last November and now the fabricated portions are on the way, completely ahead of the construction that is currently taking place at the site.

“I imagine that by February, the stadium is going to be up, people will drive by and think it will be a day or two away from completion,” Foster said. “But there will be a lot of work to be done.

“I imagine that by February, the roof and the structure will be on and the proceeding months, you will see the exterior, the parking lot will begin. Once the crane goes down, the preparation for the field will begin.”

By March 2016, 90 per cent of the stadium will be completed and between May and June, Foster said everything should be up and running.

“The foundation is out of the ground, 100 per cent and the construction columns of the stadium, we expect to see them erected as early as next week,” Foster said.

“I think everybody has seen the huge crane on the site, but that was a huge challenge getting that there.That will make the construction very easy. The specimens for the stadium are still the same with a seating of spectators and there will be a 5,000 square foot area for office spaces on both the ground and second level.”

Although he would have preferred the grass turf on the field, Foster said it was agreed to go with synthetic surface that would allow the government to utilise the stadium on a daily basis for activities that will not just be limited to the game, but also of a cultural nature.

“If we are going to satisfy the local and international people, who will come here to play, we have to use a surface that is realistically manageable and we have recently visited a number of college stadiums and we were particularly impressed, particularly Louisville, Kentucky and they have the synthetic field.”

After a 30-year dispute, Johnson said he wants to assure the public that “baseball is indeed back” and they will see once the new stadium is completed.

“I made that promise to Jim Wood. Jim Wood passed away and he did not get to see this day, but last week Friday, we honoured his name and his reputation and what he has done in this peace deal,” said Johnson about the dispute between the Bahamas Baseball Association and the Bahamas Baseball Federation.

“Everything in the National Sports Park will be ran by the National Sports Authority on behalf of the people of the Bahamas,” Johnson said.

“All federations, which intend to use those facilities, just like that the basketball stadium, will be subjected to a user’s fee.

“We will prepare the space, you tell us what you are doing and we will prepare it and break it down. On the occasion when you have something special, you will book it in advance. This is no longer the neighbourhood park where you just turn up to play. You will have to book it in advance.”

For those organisations that already receive a grant from the ministry, Johnson said they will get an increase, but part of it will go directly to the NSA for the maintenance of the facilities that the sporting organisations intend to utilise for their activities.

Newly appointed president of the Bahamas Baseball Association, Sam Rodgers, along with Stanley Mitchell, one of the vice presidents, were present, but there was no represention from the Bahamas Baseball Federation, headed by Teddy Sweeting.

Sweeting and the federation played a role in helping to get nine Bahamians playing for Great Britain this year in the World Baseball Classic. But Johnson said that will never happen again as the Bahamas will seek to field its own team to play in the future.

With baseball being included in the 2020 Olympic Games, Johnson said they will be doing all in their power to ensure that the Bahamas takes full advantage of the opportunity. He said professional player Antoan Richardson, who made an impact in getting the players to team up for Great Britain, will be called upon to play a pivotal role in that regard.

Once completed, Johnson said the National Sports Authority would be in charge of the scheduling for those international teams that want to come in to compete and those local organisations that will seek to participate.

Once completed, Johnson said the University of the Bahamas would have access to a grand lawn that will link the stadium in what will be called the University Common, which will put the Bahamas on par with all others around the world.

Johnson also said they have had a town meeting with the residents in the area and those affected, have compiled and reconfigured their yard so that they won’t be affected by the ring road that will be erected around the stadium.

Baseball Association ‘Will Be Happy To Integrate With The Baseball Federation

By BRENT STUBBS

Senior Sports Reporter

bstubbs@tribunemedia.net

WITH the passing of his mentor and former leader Jim Wood two years ago, Sam Rodgers has assumed the role as president of the Bahamas Baseball Association.

Rodgers, who was accompanied by one of the vice presidents Stanley Mitchell at the announcement of the latest development for the construction of the new Andre Rodgers Baseball Stadium yesterday, said he intends to keep the memory of Wood alive as he heads the embattled organization that seeks to exist without any membership, but remains the governing body for the sport.

Wood died on December 9, 2014 and in January 2015, Rodgers was placed in charge of the BBA. He said at present, he’s trying to complete the administrative structure.

It’s no secret that before Wood died, there was a lot of contention between the BBA and the Bahamas Baseball Federation, which has primarily carried the sport on the ground by doing primarily what the BBA should have been doing. Rodgers said they are looking at a compromise between the two bodies as they chart the way forward.

“We have decided so far that we will not run any leagues that will interfere with the BBF,” Rodgers said. “What we have decided to do is look at baseball from our angle from the international tournament perspective.

“So once we have those tournaments lined up, we will sit down with the BBF and their president Teddy Sweeting and see how we will integrate these tournaments because they have the players. So they will be responsible for getting the players together and we will be responsible for the international tournaments.”

Although the BBF has been agitating for a change to both the Bahamas Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, the two highest sporting bodies in the country, Rodgers said he doesn’t see why there is a problem with the picture he’s painting.

“If we both decide to run a league, when it’s time to pick a national team, I could decide to pick all the players from my league, then that would be a problem,” he said. “So we in the BBA have decided that we will not run any league to compete with their league.

“But when we have to go to the international tournaments, we will select their players to take part in these tournaments. We will run some academies, which will be designed for players who are not playing in their league. We will get them on the field and help to develop them so that they can then be integrated into the BBF leagues.”

No doubt with the construction of the new Andre Rodgers Baseball Stadium at the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex, there is expected to be some contention over the use of the facility, which will be operated by the National Sports Authority.

Rodgers said they don’t see any problems.

“We heard that the stadium will be up and running in a few months. I think we can utilize the stadium, along with the Ministry of Youth, and make it a profitable one,” Rodgers said.

“Most of the time when I travel, people have been asking me when are we going to host an international tournament because they want to come to the Bahamas.

“So I think it would be a smooth transition for us. We hope to bring tournaments of different age brackets here and I don’t have a problem bringing teams here to compete. So we will be happy to integrate with the BBF and corporate Bahamas so that we can properly entertain the teams when they come here to play in the new stadium.”

Hopefully, the BBF will get to voice their opinion on the issue in Friday’s edition of The Tribune.

Durant helps Warriors bounce back, beat Pelicans 122-114

NEW ORLEANS — As Anthony Davis rose for a shot in the final minute of play, Kevin Durant met the Pelicans’ star at his apex and swatted the ball away. Golden State’s newly added All-Star then raced the other way for a game-clinching layup, completing a dominant night on both ends of the court.

“I just tried to make a winning play for the team,” Durant said. Davis “had it going all night, shooting over double-teams, making all these tough fade-aways. I had no doubt in my mind that if he had gotten it off, he would have made that one, so I just tried to make a play.”

Durant finished with 30 points and 17 rebounds, Klay Thompson added 28 points and the Warriors bounced back emphatically from a surprising season-opening loss by beating New Orleans 122-114 on Friday night.

“I just didn’t want us to get outrebounded,” Durant said, adding that coach Steve Kerr “told me that I could try to lead this team in rebounding and I’m trying to do my best to help out.”

Durant’s career-high for rebounds in a game is 18, a mark he could surpass with his new team before long.

After scoring only six points on five shot attempts in the first half, Stephen Curry asserted himself more with an array of inside and deep shots to finish with 23 points, including a momentum-swinging 8-0 run by himself in the third quarter.

Davis, who scored 50 points in New Orleans’ season-opening loss, finished with 45 points and 17 rebounds against Golden State, but the Pelicans struggled to trim their deficit below double digits for much of the final quarter.

“We’re playing hard, playing with a lot of energy, but we’ve got to find a way to execute better down the stretch,” Davis said.

Tim Frazier scored a career-high 21 points and added 10 assists for New Orleans. Lance Stephenson and Dante Cunningham each scored 15 points.

Golden State, the two-time defending Western Conference champions, dropped their season opener at home in stunning fashion, 129-100 to San Antonio. The Warriors made far easier work of the depleted Pelicans, leading by as many as 16 points and trailing for less than a minute in the second half, and by only one point in the third quarter.

The Pelicans trailed by 12 after Draymond Green‘s 3 early in the third quarter, but chipped away and briefly took the lead at 74-73 when Frazier hit a driving layup that gave him 11 points in the period.

The Warriors seized momentum right back, however, when Curry scored the next eight points on a deep 3, a pair of free throws and a driving layup as he was fouled. Curry added another 3 from 30 feet a few possessions later, and wound up with 13 points in the third quarter, which ended with Golden State leading 92-81 after Andre Iguodala‘s dunk.

“In that certain stretch, we had purposeful play calls that got me in a better position to make some plays,” Curry said. “I kind of got a feel and some momentum.”

New Orleans got as close as 116-110 on Davis’ short basket with about a minute left, and had the ball with a chance to pull closer, but Durant blocked Davis’ jumper and raced the other way for a breakaway layup to put it away.

MAKING HISTORY

Curry hit four 3-pointers to reach 1,600 for his career. He’s the 19th player to do so, but none did it faster than Curry, now starting his eighth season.

Meanwhile, Davis is the first Pelicans player (dating to the NBA’s return to New Orleans as the Hornets in 2002) to score 40 or more in two straight games.

“My body feels great. I’m just in attack mode all the time,” Davis said. “I think that’s the best way to try to help the team.”

TIP-INS

Warriors: Durant was called for a technical foul for shoving Stephenson to the floor after the highly animated Stephenson fouled him. … Durant has scored at least 20 points in 66 consecutive regular season games, the longest such streak since Michael Jordan‘s 69 straight in 1990-91. … Patrick McCaw, who hit his only shot from 3-point range, sprained his left ankle in the first half and did not return. … Green and Zaza Pachulia each grabbed 11 rebounds. Pachulia scored 10 points.

Pelicans: New Orleans missed 10 of its first 12 3s and shot only 38.8 percent (19 of 49) overall in the first half, after which they trailed 59-50. … Sixth overall draft choice Buddy Hield played 17 minutes and once again had a quiet game offensively, hitting 1 of 6 shots for two points. He also let a pass slip through his hands and out of bounds when he was wide open under the basket.

UP NEXT

Warriors: Visit Phoenix on Sunday afternoon.

Pelicans: Visit San Antonio on Saturday night.