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Trinity East emerges U-17 b-ball champ

Published: 
Wednesday, June 6, 2018
Trinity College East topscorer Jovan George, 10th from left standing, celebrates with his teammates, Principal Dereck West, second from left standing, coach Kern George, fourth from right, and supporters from his school and Bishop Anstey East after the Blue Hawks won the East Zone Boys’ Under-17 title in the Secondary Schools Basketball League at the Maloney Indoor Sports Arena on Friday. PICTURE RACHAEL THOMPSON-KING

A complete team effort spurred on by Jovan George led Trinity College East to the Boys’ Under-17 Division title in the Secondary Schools Basketball League East Zone competition.

The action unfolded at the Maloney Indoor Sports Arena on Friday evening in the final match of a triple-header, which saw the Blue Hawks of Trinity East, seal an 81-63 victory over Tunapuna Secondary.

“It was a good win for us,” said coach Kern George, a former national basketball men’s captain. “We have been meeting Tunapuna in the final all the time. The guys really stuck together. We came up with a very good game plan and they executed.”

Though on the losing end, Nikolai Mills brought the excitement to the court and notched a match-high 42 points in the entertaining affair in which the final scores did not convey the intense match-up between the two teams to close the season.

From the jump-ball, the contest was competitive with both teams trading baskets but it was Trinity, backed by the larger group of supporters which included Principal Dereck West, a number of teachers and students of its girls’ school, Bishop Anstey East, holding the edged 17-14 at the end of the first quarter.

In the second period, Mills kept coming and helped his team get its first lead of the match 20-19 with 7.01 to go before halftime. The Tunapuna Tigers pushed on and mustered a four-point (23-19) advantage which caused Trinity coach George, to call a timeout.

On the return to the court, George (Jovan), sank a three-pointer which satisfied his coach who was quite animated on the sideline for much of the match as he belted instructions through the powerful and pulsating rhythm of drums from the Trinity East students and well as their constant chanting from the stands.

On the other end of the court, Tunapuna’s coach Stefan Dillon was much more reserved in his commands as he tried to guide his team to the U-17 crown. However, it was an uphill task as his team dropped behind 35-30 at the half.

The close battle continued into the second half, with Mills doing well attacking the basket and connecting from long-range but through the leadership of George, who netted a team-high 18, to inspire his team’s offence while boosting its defence, forcing a number of turnovers which his teammates turned into points.

Trinity made a run to close the third quarter, to hold a 59-44 lead heading into the fourth session. Not much changed in the final period and Trinity held on to claim the 18-point win.

“This group that closed out the season for us, they were together for four years. They built a bond,” said coach George. “They put down their heads down this season and said let’s trust the coach and trust each other and that’s exactly what they did and got success.”

Earlier in the afternoon, Holy Cross topped Mt Hope, 55-44 to take third place while in the opening exhibition match in the U-13 Division, Hillview College defeated Trinity East, 30-22.

RESULTS

U-17 Division
Final
Trinity East 81 (Jovan George 18) vs Tunapuna Secondary 63 (Nikolai Mills 42)
Third Place playoffs
Holy Cross 55 (Kalique Robinson-Forrester 22) vs Mt Hope 40 (Alexus Worrell 19)
U-13 exhibition match
Hillview College 30 (Christian Zoe 22) vs Trinity East 22 (Kyle Simmion 8).

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