THE SUNLAND Baptist Stingers stunned the CI Gibson Rattlers 64-52 to capture the 2023 Hugh Campbell Basketball Classic on Monday night at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium. Photo: Austin Fernander
#By BRENT STUBBS
#Senior Sports Reporter
#With a very well executed defensive plan from start to finish, the Sunland Baptist Stingers stunned the CI Gibson Rattlers 64-52 to capture the 2023 Hugh Campbell Basketball Classic last night at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium.
#It was the second straight title for the Stingers, whose head coach Jay Philippe said it was sweeter than when they won it in 2020, the last time the tournament was staged due to the COVID-19 pandemic that forced the cancellation of the past two years.
#“A lot of people said 2020 was a fluke because CI Gibson didn’t participate that year and Tabernacle didn’t participate, so we had a point to prove,” Philippe said.
#“We wanted to come out there to show the country that we have an elite basketball programme and we will be around for a long time.”
#Philippe said they wanted to add this title to their ledger after going through the regular season in Grand Bahama, only to lose out to the Tabernacle Baptist Falcons in the final. He said they were delighted to be the last men standing from the three teams from Grand Bahama, who made it to the final four of the week-long tournament.
#Tianno Roberts ignited their attack with a game high 19 points with six rebounds and four steals. Donell Basden, named the most valuable player, had 12 points, 17 rebounds and six block shots, Jordan Saunders had 11 points, seven rebounds, five assists, De’Nage Kelly added eight points with six rebounds and three assists and both Judah Rolle and Jermaine Woodside connected on six points.
WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS: Most Valuable Player Donell Basden, of the Sunland Baptist Stingers, cuts down the nets last night after the Stingers stunned the CI Gibson Rattlers 64-52 to capture the 2023 Hugh Campbell Basketball Classic title at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium. Photo: Austin Fernander/Tribune Staff
#For the Rattlers, James Delia powered inside for 19 points with eight rebounds, three steals and two assists, Tashon Butler had 12 points and four rebounds and Jude Vil added six points with four steals and a pair of rebounds and assists. “We can’t have 20 turnovers and cannot miss over 40 lay-ups and still win the game,” said Rattlers’ coach Kevin ‘KJ’ Johnson, who was out to win his first tournament title since 2014.
#“Sunland are true champions. They made all of their shots, they took care of the ball and we didn’t do anything to compete. Hats off to them. They are the champions.”
#Sunland applied the defensive pressure early in the fourth and caused CI Gibson to make a couple costly turnovers. But the Stingers didn’t help their own cause as they missed a couple of jumpers.
#With two mìnutes to go, Kelly hit a jumper, the Stingers paid for it as Saunders went down with an injury. After he got up with some help from the team, Kelly canned another jumper for a 58-43 lead.
#The Stingers tightened up their defence and the celebrations started in the final minute. Butler hit a tbree-pointer for a 60-50 Rattlers deficit, but it was a little too late.
#The Rattlers continued to press on and Joseph was the recipient of five consecutive points, including a three-point play, to bring the Rattlers to a 35-29 deficit with about 4:40 on the clock on the third.
#With 3:24 left, Roberts drove to the baseline for a one-handed slam dunk that pushed the Stingers ahead 39-29, much to the delight of the fans. One minute later, he canned a three-pointer to extend their lead to 42-29.
#Roberts contributed eight in the period for Sunland as they enjoyed a 45-35 margin at tbe end of the final break. Delia had six for CI Gibson in the period.
#In the second quarter, Sunland surged ahead 17-8, but CI Gibson stormed back 17-12 with 4:00 on Jude Vil’s lay-up.
#One minute later, Delia got a steal and raced to the other end for a lay-up and a 19-16 deficit.
#Great outside shooting led by Basden and Roberts enabled the Stingers to build their biggest lead of the game at 28-18.
#But at the buzzer, Dieunel Joseph got an offensive rebound and put back to bring CI Gibson within six, 28-22, at the half.
#Basden collected nine points and Roberts had six up to that point for the Stingers. Delia had 10 and Joseph added nine at that point for the Rattlers.
#As the two teams headed to the locker rooms for half-time, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force band entertained the crowd.
#After falling behind, Delia converted a pair of free throws with 2:22 to put the Rattlers on the scoreboard for a 5-2 deficit. Dieunel Joseph hit two more for a 5-4 deficit.
#But with 1:00 left, Delia committed a three-point play for a 6-6 tie. With 47 seconds to go, Basden’s three-pointer put the Stingers up 11-6 at the end of the quarter.
#Basden and Jordan Saunders both had three in the period for Sunland. Delia had four for CI Gibson.
#Prime Minister Philip ‘Brave’ Davis, Minister of Education Glenys Hanna- Martin and Minister of State, Zane Lightbourne, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Mario Bowleg, Minister of Social Services Obie Wilchcombe, Minister Keith Bell, Leonardo Lightbourne, Bacchus Rolle, Opposition Leader Michael Pintard and former Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis, were among the dignitaries on hand to view the nationally televised game at Kendal Isaacs Gym.