During a fierce three-day competition, the best high school teams in the country defended their schools in a tournament that took place at the Grace Gymnasium of Agape Christian School. After the withdrawal of Harbour Island, Eleuthera, the tournament turned into a contest between New Providence and Abaco, with the Mystic Marlins of Doris Johnson, taking a first place in the senior category and third place in the junior. The Abaco Agape Christian School Eagles won the junior tournament and placed second in the senior category. Abaco Central High School held its own, until confronting Anatole Rogers for the third place which they lost 33 to 24. Providence took the second place in the junior age group.
The fifth Agape Christian School Tip-Off Tournament started on Thursday October 23, ending at 1:30 am in the morning of October 26 after a series of games fiercely disputed between the competitive teams. This year two local female teams participated in the tournament. Agape Christian School and SC Bootle Highschool competed against each other in two games after the withdrawal of Harbour Island. SC Bootle Dynamic Dolphins won the two games, with Keandra Sawyer of Cooper’s Town deserving the title of MVP.
Abaco was well represented with two teams from Moore’s Island (Panthers), a senior team from Abaco Central High School (Marlins), a senior male team and a female team from SC Bootle High School (Dynamic Dolphins), and two male teams and a female team from Agape Christian School (Eagles).
New Providence had come in force also with six high schools represented, CR Walker Knights, CV Bethel Stingrays, Anatole Rogers Timber Wolves, Noble Preparatory Academy Ballers, Providence Storms and last but not least, Doris Johnson Mystic Marlins.
Twelve games took place on the first day with the Eagles junior team and the Mystic Marlins senior team already getting ahead, the latter beating the Moore’s Island team 22 to 6 in the junior category. The Mystic Marlins also won against the Stingrays 38 to 15, as well as against the CR Walker Knights 57 to 10 in the senior category.
The SC Bootle female team did well against the Agape team, winning 24 to 11.
The junior Eagles on the other hand, defeated the CV Bethel team 19 to 2 and the CR Walker Knights 24 to 10.
The elimination games continued on Friday with two very close first games. Most of the games played that day ended with close scores.
The first two games of the day both went on overtime with both of Moore’s lsland teams playing against Nassau teams. Moore’s Island defeated CV Bethel 23 to 21 after a tie of 20 each at the end of the second half. Moore’s Island was tied at 16 at the end of the game with CR Walker. But the Panthers lost to the Knights by one point 20 to 21. Later on, ACH defeated CR Walker 65 to 61 in another fierce game with Coach Trevor Grant for the Knights nearly losing his voice coaching his players.
Noble Preparatory Academy lost by three points to Doris Johnson, 43 to 46.
Four qualification games were played on Saturday morning. Anatole Rogers lost against Providence 11 to 28 in the first game of the day. The Eagles junior team defeated the Doris Johnson Mystic Marlins 22 to 13. The seniors Eagles beat Anatole Rogers 51 to 45. The ACH Marlins lost to the Mystic Marlins 61 to 44.
Games resumed in the evening after a break of a few hours.
It was well after 7:00 pm when the teams regrouped on the basketball court for a long evening of basketball. Besides the championship games, a few friendly games took place, relaxing the tense atmosphere of competition. The first non- competition game was between Noble Preparatory Academy and SC Bootle High School senior teams. A former Eagle, Gregory Monroe, had moved to Nassau to attend Noble Preparatory Academy after graduating from ACS.
The game was to showcase his performance. He definitely contributed to his team winning with 54 points to the Dynamic Dolphins 31.
Doris Johnson won the following game 16 to 7 against Anatole Rogers in the junior category, qualifying for the third place.
The ACH Marlins played against the Anatole Rogers’ Timber Wolves for the third position in the senior category. The victory went to the Wolves with 33 to 29, in spite of an aggressive start by the Marlins.
Next was a Showcase game featuring local adult players from settlements of Central Abaco, a Purple Team vs White Team. It was a fun game with some of the players putting on a show. White Team won 38 to 23.
Then came the two championship games. In the junior category Agape was playing against Providence. It was an easy win for the Eagles, scoring 40 to 19. Joshua Cornish was voted the best player.
By that time the Gymnasium had filled to capacity with people eager to watch the final game between Agape and Doris Johnson. Parents, supporters and basketball lovers congregated around the court. The Eagles had won last year’s tournament, would the Mystic Marlins get their turn in 2014? They did.
The Eagles led in the first two quarters, playing their best against the older Mystic Marlins but by the third quarter, the Mystic Marlins took the lead and never let go, ending up with 72 to Agape 56, with Coach Denyko Bowles and Coach Wayde Adderley screaming encouragements or admonishments to their respective players throughout the game. MVP for the Mystic Marlin was Brendon Stubbs.
Four referees had come from Nassau to officiate the games.
Thurman Johnson coached for CV Bethel, Harcourt McCoy for Anatole Rogers, Kevin Johnson for Providence and Geno Bullard for Noble Preparatory Academy.
The Moore’s Island Panthers were coached by Dino Hield. Coaches for the girl teams were Audrey Dean for SC Bootle, Patrick Smith and Stephan Johnson for the Eagles.
Agape Christian School’s Principal, Cecile Albury, and her husband were there following all the games, supporting their players.
As a gesture of hospitality, breakfast was served to the visiting teams and officials during their three-day stay.
The Eagles will travel to Freeport during the first weekend of November to compete in an eight- game tournament against four of the best Grand Bahama teams.
On December 26, they will go to Nassau to participate in the CI Gibson Christmas Tournament, an international event, with thirty two teams participating.
The Juniors will enter in the Father Marcian Peters Tournament at the beginning of December.