#By BRENT STUBBS
#Senior Sports Reporter
#Coach Kevon Spence said he felt his Doris Johnson Mystic Marlins were in a 10-round heavyweight main event fight against the CC Sweeting Cobras.
#As the Government Secondary Schools Sports Association kicked off its 2023 basketball season yesterday at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium, the Mystic Marlins senior boys took the sting out of the Cobras with a 65-52 victory.
#The win came after CC Sweeting, with only seven players in uniform, turned back a fully loaded Doris Johnson in a 45-20 rout in the senior girls’ opener.
#Over at the CI Gibson Gymnasium, the junior girls and boys played. CH Reeves Raptors demolished the AF Adderley Fighting Tigers junior girls 41-5, CH Reeves held off AF Adderley junior boys 33-31 and TA Thompson Scorpions got by the LW Young Golden Eagles junior boys 28-16.
#After helping to coach the Mystic Marlins in the senior girls’ loss, Spence didn’t want to get his senior boys knocked out as well.
#“I felt really good that we came out here and executed. It was like after all of the sparring, we got a chance when the lights were on to execute in the ring,” he said. “We executed when we needed to on the court and that got us the win.”
#The Cobras opened a 9-1 run and held on an 11-5 advantage at the end of the first quarter.
#The Mystic Marlins, however, stormed back to cut the deficit to two (22-20) at the half.
#In the third period, the Marlins outscored the Cobras 22-17 to take control of the game. They cruised in the fourth quarter on an 18-12 spurt to seal the deal.
#“I was pleased with the way our team was able to respond to the punch of the next team,” Spence said. “We talked about it a lot. We said when the next team gave us a punch, we must know how to react. So it was great that we had so much time to come back in the game and get the job done.”
#In Doris Johnson’s comeback, Laterro Young had 17, including eight in the
#third quarter and five in the fourth, while Bredon Williams scored 16, canning two of his three three-pointers in the third quarter when they turned the tables on CC Sweeting. Sammy Joseph and Jay-Onn Joseph both had eight and Mervin Miller chipped in with six in the win.
#As the last team to win the GSSSA senior boys crown since the league went into a two-year hiatus because of COVID-19, Spence said all they need to do is “take it one game at a time” and they will be in a good position to go after another title.
#Mataeo Minnis had 12, Jason Williams 10 and Tavari Roker added six in the loss. It was a loss that assistant coach Brian Tucker said they deserved.
#“We didn’t come out and play our style of basketball,” admitted Tucker, who assisted head coach Darshtyn Baker. “We had a lot of turnovers, which were unforced. We really didn’t play our game. This was the first game of the season, so we had to get the jitters out, but we will learn from this. We will go back to practice and get it together.”
#Mystic Marlins 20
#Although they were short-handed, it didn’t matter as Doris Johnson didn’t have any answers for CC Sweeting’s 1-2 punch of Dominiqua Rolle and Bernell Colebrooke.
#Rolle poured in a game high 19 points and Colebrooke finished with 13 as the Cobras got some extra help with Alferan Destamar and Diamond Evans scoring four and three respectively in the win.
#“I want to give God thanks. As believers, we are admonished to give God thanks for whatever the situation is, whether it is a win or a loss. Today we came out with a W, but we are lacking personnel in terms of what we have to go through for the entire season,” McSweeney said. “At one point, we had up to 22 girls who signed up to play, but it came down to just 11 this week. We took a break for Majority Rule and our physical education head Tiffany Wildgoose has been doing a tremendous job to come out, but some decided they would not play today. So we’re just glad we walked away with the win.”
#With some time off because they play again next week, McSweeney said they have sufficient time to iron out some things defensively as they go to a zone until their players get in better shape. He said they won’t cry over spilled milk, but rather will make the adjustment with what they have. With a full squad, coach Zena Kemp expected a lot more from her Mystic Marlins, but they just folded up down the stretch when it counted the most in the second half.
#Anthonique Delancy scored eight and Faith McKinney added four, but it wasn’t enough.
#“They came out playing pretty good, but then we just couldn’t maintain our composure,” Kemp said.
#The league will be back in action today with Anatol Rodgers playing SC McPherson in junior girls and boys at CI Gibson, starting at 4pm, while the Government High Magics and the RM Bailey Pacers will tangle in the senior girls and boys at Kendal Isaacs.