The Cooper’s Town Young Legends won a hard fought senior championship game in the Timothy Bullard Basketball Christmas Tournament.
After nearly three hours of playing and six overtime extensions, the Cooper’s Town team defeated the Marsh Harbour Hoopers 128 to 126. It was an exciting game that had all the fans coming closer and closer to the court while cheering as their team scored, in spite of the referees’ admonishments.
The Freeport Pine Forest Academy team won the junior division against the Agape Eagles by 2 points 71 to 69.
The three-day tournament began early afternoon on Thursday, December 22 at the Agape Christian School’s Grace Gymnasium. Eight teams registered in the junior division as well as in the senior age group, each divided into two pools. They included high school teams, church teams, and township teams, as well as one team from Freeport.
Opening the tournament, the Marsh Harbour Disciples played Long Bay School in the junior division, with the Disciples winning 32-20. Next, the Agape Christian School’s Eagles beat the Cooper’s Town Young Legends 35-32, in the second game of the day. The Pine Forest Academy team already established itself in the third game, winning 30 to 17 against Spring City. Five games took place that first morning between Pools A and B.
The games continued Thursday afternoon with the senior teams playing elimination games. The Abaco Central High School Marlins defeated the Youth in Action team. The Humble Kings defeated the Marsh Harbour Rockets. The Treasure Ballers also won against Youth in Action, but the Marsh Harbour Hoopers won against the Marlins while the Cooper’s Town Legends defeated the Humble Kings.
Five elimination games took place Friday morning in the junior division. Pine Forest Academy, the Abaco Central High School Marlins, the Agape Christian School Eagles, and the Zion Baptist Cathedral’s Knights were still in the race by the end of the morning.
The following morning Pine Forest Academy’s team played the runner-up of Pool B, the Zion Knights. The Marlins played the Eagles. At the end of Saturday morning, the finalists were known: the Eagles and the Pine Forest Academy team.
Six play-off games took place on Friday afternoon for the seniors, with the remaining two teams in Pool A playing the two remaining teams in Pool B. The winner of Pool B, the Marsh Harbour Hoopers, played the runner-up of Pool A, the Humble Kings, while the Treasure Cay Ballers were to play the Young Legends.
The championship game between Pine Forest Academy and the Agape Eagles started at 8 p.m. Saturday evening with Timothy Bullard and Carson Mitchell as referees. The game consisted of four quarters of eight minutes each. By half time the Eagles had a slight lead of two points. Pine Forest Academy took the lead in the third quarter with seven points advance, but the Eagles regrouped in the last quarter reaching a tie of 69 points minutes before the end. A last basket by Tepan Ferguson gave Pine Forest the victory.
The late arrival of some of the Marsh Harbour Hoopers’ players pushed the start of the senior championship game to 9:30 p.m. The schedule was ten minutes per quarter. The score between the two teams was a repeat of the previous game with the Young Legends leading by three points at half time and two points in the third quarter. The two point lead went to the Hoopers in the fourth quarter, soon to turn into a tie as the game ended with each team scoring 89 points.
A first overtime of four minutes was decided by the referees. This too ended up in a tie of 102 each. A three minute overtime followed which also ended in a tie of 112 points. Another three minutes was not enough to produce a winner as the teams tied again at 118. By then, two of the Hoopers were out of the game because of accumulated fouls. Nonetheless, the remaining three players managed another tie at 123. Only two Hoopers were left in the sixth and last overtime, Mario Mackey and Valentino Mitchell.
The Hoopers evened up the score at 126, but had to give up seconds before the whistle marked the end of the last two-minute overtime when the Young Legends scored their final basket.
The Coaches for the teams were Ray Evans for the Pine Forest Academy team, Joinel Jeune for the Marsh Harbour Disciples and Youth in Action, also coaching the Hoopers in their last two quarters. Nelson Carol trained the Zion Knights and Stephan Johnson was the coach for the Agape Eagles. Mike Bain from Nassau, who acted as referee during the qualification games, coached the Young Legends in the championship game. Eurel Delancy coached the Spring City team and Shantel Penn directed the Marlins.
Humble Kings were coached by Edvon Sawyer, the TC Ballers by Godfrey Rolle Sr, and the Long Bay team by Mr. Gremmon. Referees during the three-day games were Mike Bain, Chancy Cooper, Alex Rolle, Gilbert Davis, and Carson Mitchell. Timothy Bullard, Malick Penn, and Godfrey Rolle acted as referees when needed.
The tournament was organized by Timothy Bullard, a former alumni of Agape Christian School who graduated in 2014. The young man said he saw a future in Abaco players and wanted to give them the opportunity to practice in competitive games. The tournament was also a fundraiser for his family who operated the food stand in order to buy musical equipment for New Life Ministries, his father Pastor Cedric Bullard’s church.
Two former students of Agape Christian School who won scholarships through their basketball skills, Jaron Cornish and Godfrey Rolle, also participated in the tournament, both playing for the Treasure Cay Ballers.
One of the players for the Pine Forest Academy’s team, Tepan Ferguson, was also from Abaco. A former student at Abaco Central High School, he was recruited by the Freeport school. Ferguson was the MVP in the championship game, scoring 48 points for his team.
The MVP for Young Legends was Tanash Swain.