Team Colombia will be the new kid on the block in next year’s premier division of the senior men’s basketball league.
The squad took down the Digicel Demons on Sunday to claim the Division Two championship. With the win, Colombia move up to Division One.
The Digicel Court was the site of all the hoops action on Saturday. Fans were piling in from as early as 6pm for the 6:15 start.
From the opening tip, Colombia was in control. They pushed the tempo, were active on the boards and flashed a perimeter game the Demons sorely lacked.
Yet the Demons kept it close with plenty of post-up plays down the middle. By the end of the first quarter the Colombia side was ahead 13-10.
The boisterous crowd was into the game from the very first baskets. The Demons and Colombia supporters could be heard shouting and gesturing for their teams to win.
In the second quarter the lead grew and Colombia kept the tempo fast and furious. Digicel desperately wanted to make the game a half-court affair and give their big men more time to post up down low.
However Colombia double-teamed Demon players wherever the ball went and caused plenty of turnovers. Their opportunistic fastbreak offense and overall athleticism wreaked havoc on all fronts for the Demons. By half-time the lead was up to 18 points.
During the half-time break the Colombia supporters revelled away. They enjoyed doing the wave, singing songs and making all sorts of celebratory cheers.
The second half saw little improvement for Digicel. The lead would swell to over 20 in spurts and the game was all but over. To their credit they played hard and battled for every basket.
For their efforts they did outscore Colombia 14-10 in the third quarter. However it must be noted that Colombia seemed to lose their focus in the second half.
Colombia’s coach could sense a momentum swing and gave his team a stern pep-talk at the start of the fourth quarter. The crowd could sense the shift too as it blurted out words of encouragement in Spanish.
Colombia responded and showed form similar to their first half performance. Soon the squad would almost shut down Digicel’s offense and give them fits on defense.
Every possession for Digicel was time-consuming and painful. To add insult to injury, Colombia supporters could be heard stomping their feet on the bleachers whenever Digicel was at the charity stripe. As a result Colombia would outscore Digicel 21-16 in the fourth quarter.
When the final whistle blew the score line was low but the margin of victory was right on target. The final score read 66-47 in favour of Colombia.
The crowd, by now mostly filled with Colombia supporters, exploded with cheers. They ran onto the court, hugged their countrymen and scrambled to take pictures.
In the end Colombia’s athletic edge and jump-shooting ability made all the difference.
Leading the charge for Colombia was game-high scorer Jonathan Corpus with 29 points and five steals. Team mate Charles Forbes chipped in with six points and 10 rebounds.
For Digicel, big man Michael ‘Bird’ Burbidge had a solid double-double performance with 10 points and 14 rebounds. Meanwhile guard Gavin McMaster lead the team in scoring with 12 points.
Saturday’s victory was the second and deciding win for Colombia. Last Wednesday the team beat Digicel 65-59 in a close game. In that contest Digicel had plenty of firepower as McMaster had 24 points, Michael Lubin had 17 points and eight rebounds and Burbidge dominated on the boards with 20 rebounds.
On the other hand Corpus was again the high-point man with 27 points. He had help from Forbes again with six points and 11 rebounds and Edward Smith with 10 points and six rebounds.
With Colombia’s promotion comes a demotion for a division one squad. The team moving down to make room is the Lakers.
Lakers had a horrible season with no wins and 16 losses. In spite of great play from stand-out big man Chad Leslie, the team scored the fewest points with 943 while giving up the most with 1,363.