by RENALDO

The Bahamas delivered a statement to the remainder of the field with a dominant performance in the opening game of the FIBA Centrobasket U17 Men’s Championship.

Led by the Dominic Bridgewater and Grevaughn Goodman backcourt that accounted for 50 points, the Bahamas scored a 114-63 win over Guyana at the tournament in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic.

Bridgewater finished with a team high 27 points, eight steals and six rebounds while Goodman finished with 25 points and five steals. They led five players in double figures including Samuel Hunter with 17 points, Davano Whitfield scored 14 and Joshua Dames added 10. Leroy Adderley also finished with eight points and seven rebounds.

Kevon Wiggins led Guyana with a game high 32 points.

The Bahamas opened the game on a 24-2 scoring run. Goodman’s second three pointer of the quarter gave the team a 34-10 lead with 1:21 left to play. Bridgewater made a three and a layup on the ensuing possessions and Obrien Pearce split a pair at the line to give the Bahamas a 41-10 at the end of the first quarter.

The rout continued in the second quarter when Bridgewater and Raschad Greene scored the first field goals of the quarter to start another run. Dames added another three pointer to give the Bahamas a 52-10 lead and capped an 11-0 run before Guyana scored their first points of the quarter when Wiggins made a three and added free throws. The Bahamas responded with 10 unanswered points. Goodman’s steal and layup gave them a 68-18 lead as the lead ballooned to 50 for the first time. Adderley’s jumper as time expired gave the Bahamas a 73-21 lead headed into the half.

Guyana actually outscored the Bahamas in the third, but they took a 92-48 lead into the fourth quarter.

Whitfield’s three pointer pushed the lead beyond 50 once again for a 109-57 advantage with just over three minutes left in regulation.

The Bahamas shot 65 percent from the field and held Guyana to just 36 percent. Defensively they 22 steals and forced 33 turnovers. They scored 26 fastbreak points, 70 points in the paint and 31 points off the bench.

The Bahamas will face Mexico Thursday in game two at 1pm local time.

The Bahamas is placed in Group, A which also includes Guyana alongside regional powerhouses Puerto Rico and Mexico.

Group B will include the Virgin Islands, Panama, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.

The top-three teams from the tournament will qualify to the FIBA U18 Americas Championship 2018, that will be played in St. Catharines, Canada from June 11-17, 2018.

The competition system of the tournament consists of two phases. In the Group Phase, the eight (8) participating teams will be divided into two (2) groups of four (4) teams. Teams will play in a round-robin format for three days. The best two teams from each group will advance to the next phase, where the first place of Group A will play against the second place in Group B and vice versa. The winners of the Semi-Finals will advance to the Gold Medal Match, while the losers will play for the bronze of the continental event.

In their last appearance at the FIBA Centrobasket Under-17 Championship for Men, the Bahamas ended the tournament with a pair of wins in the reclassification round, finished fifth overall and did not advance to the 2016 Tournament of the Americas.

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