VINDERO Lightfoot struggled shooting the ball all night, but his final trip to the line sealed the national title for his Eight Mile Rock Blue Jays.
Lightfoot split a pair at the line with 0.4 seconds left to play to give his team a 61-60 win over the Mary Star of the Sea Crusaders and claim the National High School Championship in the Family Island Division at the St George’s Gymnasium in Grand Bahama.
Delano Dean led the Bluejays and all scorers with 19 points while tournament MVP Deven Williams finished with 14 points.
The fourth quarter featured three ties and four lead changes before Lightfoot’s heroics at the line.
The Bluejays quickly erased a nine- point deficit in the fourth quarter and tied the score at 51 on a Jordan Smith three-pointer with 4:34 left to play.
Dean followed with a three to give his team a 54-52 lead just moments later. Tied at 54 with 3:15 left to play Jared Scott scored back-to-back field goals to put his team up four (58-54).
Trailing by four with just over a minute left to play, the Bluejays answered with a three from Williams and Lightfoot split a pair at the line to tie the game at 60 with 11.1 seconds left.
The Crusaders turned the ball over on the inbound and delivered an untimely and unnecessary foul to place Lightfoot at the line.
Canaan Pinder led the Crusaders with 15 points and 16 rebounds, George Williams finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds, Javaughn Thomas added 11 points and Voshawn Russell chipped in with 10.
The Bluejays opened the game on a 6-0 run before the Crusaders would score their first field goal. That lead quickly ballooned to 13 on a three-point play from Dean to make the score 15-2 midway through the period.
The Crusaders were able to keep pace with a 9-0 run capped by a Thomas layup.
The Bluejays ended the drought when Traydecio Bethel connected on a transition three to once again make it a two possession game (18-11).
Eight Mile Rock took a 20-14 lead into the second. The Bluejays regained a 10-point lead when Williams made a pair at the line to go ahead 24-14 early in the second, but the Crusaders would again have an answer.
George Williams’ putback and baseline jumper trimmed the deficit to 24-22 with 4:40 left to play in the half.
Thomas’ layup made it 32-30 and Canaan Pinder’s follow tied it at 32.
The Bluejays would add a late field goal and free throw to take a 35-32 lead into the half.
The Crusaders took their first lead of the game on a Scott layup, 38-37 at the 5:43 mark in the third.
The Bluejays went cold in the third and the Crusaders took full advantage, building their largest lead of the game (51-43) on a Russell layup.
The National Championships featured eight teams in the Family Island Division, including teams from Cat Island, Exuma, San Salvador, Abaco and Grand Bahama.