The three day Tip-Off Basketball Tournament started the evening of June 24 and was scheduled to end on June 27 with championship games. However, bad weather on Friday forced the organizers to cancel the Friday games which were rescheduled on Saturday.
Sandy Point was the champion in the ages 9-12 category. The Zion Knights were the 12-15 champions. Abaco Central High were the 16-19 champions. In the Open Category, Cooper’s Town remained undefeated.
Six teams entered the tournament. This included a visiting team from Long Island with twelve players, their coach, Jermaine Adderley, and another adult.
Five games were played beginning at 7:00 pm at Zion Baptist Cathedral in Murphy Town. The court was freshly repainted and was enclosed by removable fencing to keep supporters and next games’ players off the court. The grass around the court was mowed and two sets of bleachers welcomed the supporters. Bahamian food was cooked on the grill.
The players had been divided into four age groups with children aged 9-12 playing 12 minutes games; the 13 to 15 boys played for sixteen minutes, and the 16 -19 for twenty minutes. The open category men had a twenty- minute game.
To keep the tournament official, coaches entered the names and jersey numbers of the players in their teams before hand and scores were recorded by three separate persons.
The first game was played between the Sandy Point team and the Zion Knights in the 13-15 category. Zion dominated from the beginning and won 15 to 10. The 9 to 12 year olds of Sandy Point and Change Ministries teams played in the second game. It was a close game with Change Ministries losing by two points.
Another game in the 13-15 age group between Marsh Harbour Disciples and Change Ministries was next. The Marsh Harbour Disciples who had a slow start caught up in the second half, but it was not enough to avoid a defeat of 19 to 23.
The fourth game was between the Abaco Central High School Marlins and the Crossing Rocks team. The Marlins established their superiority from the beginning leading 18 to 1 at half time. The final score was 29 ACH to 13 Crossing Rocks.
The last game demonstrated the boldness of the Long Island players who took the advantage from the start, scoring a few points within a couple of minutes in the game. They were leading 19 to 7 at half time against the Zion Knights. Even though the Knights picked themselves up in the second half, they still lost by 11 points. Long Island scored 33 points.
It was a good evening of sportsmanship. Coaches stayed on the side line encouraging their players. Ishmael Morley and Jermaine Adderley acted as referees in the first three games. They were replaced by Randy Davis and Gilbert Davis in the last two games.
Eight games took place Saturday afternoon, leading to the final four championship games of the evening.
The first one began before 4:00 pm, still starting with the younger players with the Zion Knights and the Change Ministries’ 9 -12, followed by Sandy Point playing against Cooper’s Town, in the 13-15 age group.
Then Cooper’s Town team defeated Long Island in the open category, a superiority they carried to the championship game that they won 33-25.
The second round of 13 -15 players played in the fourth game between the Marlins and the Knights started at 6:00 pm. The Knights defeated the Marlins 23 to 17.
Long Island beat Change Ministries in the 16- 19 age category 34 to 28 in a rather close game until half time. But the Long Island players rekindled their strength in the second half, with enough of a gap for victory.
The winner of that game was to play against the Marlins in the final.
In a back to back game of the same age group of 16-19, Cooper’s Town played against the Marlins who also defeated that team, 29 to 23.
So it was Long Island and the Marlins in the 16-19 category. It was a heated championship game between two great teams, close through the entire twenty minutes, but that eventually ended with the Marlins victory of 26 to 23.
Two more games in the open category took place before the finals, Sandy Point versus Change Ministries and Crossing Rocks against the Zion Knights.
Change Ministries won the game 32 to 24 securing its place in the championship against Cooper’s Town.
But that team still remained undefeated winning 33 to 25.
Again, great basketball was played with determination and good sportsmanship among all the teams. However, an unfortunate situation developed when the lights were turned on as swarms of insects descended on the spectators and the players, most likely brought on by the recent heavy rain.
The Tip-Off tournament was immediately followed by the Church Association Summer League with games starting on July 3.