Two weeks removed from a Hugh Campbell title, the CC Sweeting Cobras solidified their position as the top senior boys’ basketball programme in the country by claiming the inaugural National High School Championship.
The Cobras claimed the title with a 60-55 win over the St George’s Jaguars last night on the Jaguars home court in the tournament finale. They overcame an 11-point third quarter deficit and played shorthanded with one of their top players sidelined with foul trouble.
Michael Bethel scored nine of the last 11 points for the Cobras and made nearly every big play on both ends of the floor down the stretch to lead the Cobras to the win. He finished with eight points and 12 rebounds on the night.
Anderias Blacks topped his incredible tournament run with another double double and tournament MVP honours. He finished with 24 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks. He shot 8-11 from the field, including a ridiculous 5-6 from three-point range. Adrian Thompson fouled out with 11 points and nine rebounds.
After overcoming the deficit, the Cobras took their first lead of the game on the opening play of the game on a Corey Sands layup. Thompson fouled out shortly after with six minutes left to play in regulation.
Blacks’ three pointer gave the Cobras a 44-40 lead at the 4:28 mark before the Jaguars tied it again on a Sherman Robinson runner. The Jaguars reached the bonus at the three-minute mark and tied the game again at 46. Franklyn Petion scored on a fastbreak layup to put the Jaguars ahead 48-46 but the Cobras regained the lead when Bethel converted a three- point play. Bethel scored on a fastbreak layup to push the lead to three (51-48) and drew a charge on the defensive end to regain possession with 1:36 left to play.
Howard Hinzey missed a pair of free throws with an opportunity to pull closer but Bethel made two at the line to take a five-point lead. After another defensive stop for the Cobras, he raced down the court to seal the win with another fastbreak layup.
Franklyn Petion led the Jaguars with 18 points, Sherman Robinson added 10 points and 23 boards while Travaughn Nicholls added another double double – 10 points, 10 boards.
The Jaguars opened the game on a 7-0 run capped by Petion’s steal and fastbreak layup. On a pivotal play, the Cobras got their first score on a goaltending call on the exact play the Jaguars’ Kingcy Thompson was injured. Thompson would be forced to leave the game on a stretcher. After a sluggish start, Adrian Thompson’s steal and dunk at 2:14 was the Cobras first field goal of the game.
Nicholls’ three made it 12-4 and Petion’s jumper on the next possession put them up 10 (14-4). St George’s took a 14-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Cobras opened the second with a four-point play from Blacks who followed with a block on the defensive end to change the tone of the game.
After the Jaguars scored on consecutive plays, Blacks made another three pointer to keep the Cobras within five (18-13). Blacks’ third three pointer of the game gave the Cobras their first lead, 21-20 at the three- minute mark. The Cobras missed four free throws with an opportunity to extend the lead late in the period and Nicholls’ late three pointer gave the Jaguars a 24-21 lead at the half.
The Jaguars opened the third with back-to-back threes from Davontae Jennings to push the lead to nine. They went ahead by 10 for the first time, 32-22 on a Robinson putback.
The Cobras stayed in the game when they reached the bonus trailing by eight with 4:27 left to play. CC Sweeting locked down defensively and, after forcing several turnovers, a Blacks corner three trimmed the deficit to 34-32 with 3:22 left to play in the quarter. Alexander Scavella tied the game at 34 with his layup and the teams took a 35 all tie headed into the fourth.
The Cobras were outscored by eight in the first quarter but won the remainder of the periods by five, three and five points.