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Marlins grab opening game against the Cobras

February 4, 2020

Sheldon Longley

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After losing the pennant to C.I. Gibson Rattlers, the Doris Johnson Mystic Marlins had an impressive start to their title defense in the Government Secondary Schools Sports Association (GSSSA) yesterday, as they pulled away from the upset-minded C.C. Sweeting Cobras.

The Marlins senior boys won easily, 75-52, and will take a 1-0 lead into game two of the best-of-three series that resumes on Wednesday. The Rattlers lead the Anatol Rodgers Timberwolves one game to none in the other senior boys basketball series. In senior girls play, the Timberwolves took a 1-0 lead over the Cobras, winning 41-30 yesterday, and in the junior girls and junior boys series, the H.O. Nash Lions and the Timberwolves came out on top, winning easily over the D.W. Davis Royals and the S.C. McPherson Sharks yesterday. The Lions’ junior girls turned back the Royals, 51-21, and the Timberwolves’ junior boys defeated the Sharks, 48-37. The pennant winners in all four divisions will be in action today against the fourth seeded teams, and the number two and three seeded teams, in all four divisions, will resume their series on Wednesday. All of the games are being played at the A.F. Adderley Gymnasium.

Senior boys

Mystic Marlins 75, Cobras 52

The defending champs used the long ball to get them started early and a fast-tempo running offensive attack to pull away late.

Junior national team player Joshua Burrows buried three three-pointers in the opening quarter for the Mystic Marlins, and Maleek Pierre added three treys in the second quarter. They also dominated the boards, limiting the Cobras to one-shot opportunities for the most part. Still, the Cobras were competitive for most of the first half courtesy of strong guard play and timely shooting. They led 19-17 at the end of the first quarter but fell behind 43-35 at the break.

The Cobras stayed within striking distance for most of the first half, but on the strength of a 14-2 run covering the end of the second quarter and the start of the third, the Mystic Marlins began to pull away. They stretched the lead to 59-41 at the end of three, limiting the Cobras to just six points in the third quarter, and coasted to victory in the fourth.

Burrows paced the Mystic Marlins and Pierre, who shot 4-for-6 from distance, finished with 17. Matthew Saunders had 13, and Richard Lowe and Brandon Francis contributed six apiece.

Only four players scored for the Cobras. Christian Manace had 18, Haywood Seymour scored 15 and point guard Donnoven Aranha added 14. La’Shawn Bassett scored five.

Game two in the mini best-of-three series is set for Wednesday. The winner of the series will advance to the GSSSA Championships that start next week Monday.

Senior girls

Timberwolves 41, Stingrays 30

The Timberwolves closed the game on a 10-2 scoring run to seal game one of their best-of-three series, 41-30, and put themselves just one win away from advancing to the GSSSA Championships.

They surged ahead 15-8 at the end of the first quarter, were ahead 21-14 at the break and then watched as the Stingrays trimmed the margin to four, 27-23, at the end of three quarters. The Timberwolves used their size down low to dominate on the offensive and defensive sides of the floor, and scored some timely buckets in the latter part of the game to pull away.

The Stingrays got as close as three points in the second half, but every time they gained some momentum, the Timberwolves had an answer.

The Stingrays actually came into the game as the favorite, seeded second in the playoffs. The Timberwolves are seeded third, but were in total control yesterday, leading for the duration of the contest.

Erin Williams had 14 points to lead the Timberwolves. Laverne Armbrister added 10, and Ashanté Strachan dropped in seven. Tasha’nae Bernard paced the Stingrays with 13 points. D’Shante Cooper added 11.

Game two of the best-of-three series is set for Wednesday, and the winner of the series will advance to the GSSSA Championships next week.

Junior boys

Timberwolves 48, Sharks 37

The Timberwolves led by as much as 23 points in the first half and cruised to the easy win at the A.F. Adderley Gymnasium yesterday.

They were ahead 18-7 at the end of the first quarter, 32-11 at the break and 39-24 at the end of three as the S.C. McPherson Sharks tried to creep back in the game in the second half. However, the first-half lead proved to be too insurmountable as the Timberwolves won going away, 48-37.

They gained control early in the wire-to-wire win and led by double digits for the duration of the second half yesterday.

Tario Nairn paced the Timberwolves with 17 points. Corey Wright added 10 and Caden Walker dropped in six. The Sharks got nine points apiece from Jeffrey Poitier and Lamond Cross. Shamariy Chisholm and Alfred Lloyd dropped in seven apiece.

Game two of the best-of-three series is set for Wednesday, and the winner of the series will advance to the GSSSA Championships next week.

Junior girls

Lions 51, Royals 21

Losing the GSSSA Championship to the T.A. Thompson Scorpions a year ago, the H.O. Nash Lions proved that they are on a mission to reclaim that title this year, pounding the D.W. Davis Royals, 51-21, in game one of their mini best-of-three series yesterday.

The Lions held the Royals to just three points in the opening quarter, racing to a 12-3 advantage after one. They increased that lead to 23-5 at the break and never looked back. The Royals showed some semblance of life in the third quarter. They scored 11 points in that stanza, and trailed 39-16 at the end of three. However, the end result was never in doubt as the Lions won easily to take a 1-0 lead in the series. They led throughout.

Geraniqua Bethel nearly outscored the entire Royals team by her lonesome, dropping in a game-high 20 points. Raynia Russell added 12 and Haley Hall scored eight. No player scored in double figures for the Royals. Philippa Ferguson led them with eight and Patesha Pedican dropped in four.

Game two of the best-of-three series is set for Wednesday, and the winner of the series will advance to the GSSSA Championships next week.

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