The CI Gibson Rattlers are your 2023 Noble Preparatory Academy (NPA) Spring Classic basketball senior boys’ champions for the second consecutive year. Photo: Austin Fernander/Tribune Staff
The CH Reeves Raptors are your 2023 Noble Preparatory Academy (NPA) Spring Classic basketball junior girls’ champions.
The Jordan Prince Williams Falcons are your 2023 Noble Preparatory Academy (NPA) Spring Classic basketball junior boys’ champions.
The CV Bethel Stingrays are your 2023 Noble Preparatory Academy (NPA) Spring Classic basketball senior girls’ champions. Photos: Tenajh Sweeting
#By TENAJH SWEETING
#THE sixth edition of the Noble Preparatory Academy’s (NPA) spring classic basketball tournament saw four new champions crowned.
#This year’s tournament featured basketball matchups between the varsity senior and junior girls and boys from Thursday to Saturday.
#With more than 30 teams registered to compete, the Government Secondary Schools Sports Association (GSSSA) public schools represented well this past weekend.
#Three out of the four championship honours went to the junior girls of the CH Reeves Raptors, senior girls of the CV Bethel Stingrays, and the defending champions the CI Gibson Rattlers.
#After some long but exciting days of basketball showdowns, NPA president Geno Bullard talked about this year’s spring classic basketball tournament.
#“I am pleased and very happy because the tournament was overwhelmingly successful for me. I got to introduce students to a lot of different opportunities, not just for basketball but we had educational opportunities through our college counsellors, we had a little bit of entertainment, and we had a lot of basketball so it was a pretty good weekend,” Bullard said.
#The NPA president added that after this year, he will look to expand the tourney across more days and allow for more teams to compete after realising the interest is definitely there for basketball.
#After gameplay across 14 senior boys teams, only one champion could be crowned and those honours belonged to the NPA defending champions and GSSSA senior boys champions CI Gibson Rattlers.
#In a game that was hardly ever close, the Rattlers pummelled the CW Saunders Cougars 82-50.
#The defending champions got out to a 10-point lead in the first half, edging out their opponent 26-16. By the halfway mark of the fourth quarter, the lead had tripled as the team were dominating their opponent by 30 points en route to another championship win.
#Kevin Johnson, head coach of the Rattlers, talked about the big win.
#“It feels good to be back-to-back champions. These young men came out tonight determined that they were going to take it home and they did,” Johnson said.
#He said his overall strategy was to cause chaos in terms of forcing turnovers, disorganising things for the Cougars on the defensive end and, as a result, his team was able to score easy baskets.
#The senior girls of the Stingrays had an all out battle against the Lady Rattlers. The GSSSA senior girl champions were no match for the Stingrays as they defeated them 23-21 in a tightly contested game. The game got off to a slow start by both teams but basketball play picked up in the second half after a flurry of big buckets by both teams.
#The Stingrays looked to be done but a timely three by the team’s Most Valuable Player Trinity Bodie put them up. Bodie was involved in lots of big defensive and offensive plays down the stretch, including the game-clinching free throws to put the team up by two points for the win.
#Stingrays head coach Shantelle Rolle said it felt great to get the championship victory. She noted that after a slow start by both teams, she told her team to step up the defensive effort and offensively she made the adjustment to have them shoot more long twos and threes as the Lady Rattlers were clogging the paint.
#The Raptors have been crushing the competition all season long. After coming off wins in the GSSSA basketball and track championships, their sports momentum continued this past weekend.
#The Raptors wrapped up the St John’s College junior girls 26-10 to become the 2023 NPA tournament junior girls champions. The team’s MVP was Tajhanique Morley.
#Varel Davis, head coach of the Raptors, said it feels good, especially as the GSSSA junior girl champions, she decided to use the tournament as an opportunity to get the team more exposure and experience.
#Despite a break due to COVID-19, Davis said the teams came back this year hungry and their efforts and hard work is definitely showing. For the boys, the Jordan Prince Williams Falcons closed out Clement Howell to claim the NPA junior boys championship hardware.
#The Falcons opened up the bout outscoring the team 24-16. By the final buzzer, the Falcons had comfortably secured their NPA juniors boys title win after toppling the visiting team 42-19.
#Falcons head coach Angie Nash said it felt great to get the win and she was confident that her team would bring home the victory in the championship round. She added this win meant a lot for the team as it could be one of their last championship wins together with some players potentially leaving, therefore, it was the perfect time for them to play together one more time.
#After three days of competition from the best of the best in local basketball across all divisions, an entertaining performance by Julian Believe, cheerleading competition and halftime shows, and educational opportunities provided by Niagara College, the sixth edition of the NPA Spring Classic is now in the books and will look to be even more exciting next year.