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Ardenne, JC claim crowns
Jermaine Lannaman, Gleaner Writer
Ardenne High and Jamaica College (JC) won the respective sections of the ISSA KFC Under-19 and Under-16 basketball competitions, after recording 2-0 series victories over Calabar High and Ardenne High at the National Stadium Courts on Monday.
Ardenne, who were winning the Under-19 title for the first time in seven years, blew away Calabar 54-30, while JC, who last year captured the urban area and national Under-14 crowns, outplayed Ardenne 65-59, thus preventing an additional game in the best-of-three finals.
Leading the way for Ardenne's senior team, who like JC will now turn their attention to the national play-offs against the rural area divisional conference winners, were forwards Javaan Webb and Nigel Gardener, who scored 12 points and notched 10 rebounds, and 10 points and nine rebounds, respectively.
JC, in the meantime, were led to honours by influential forward Deano Hibberts, who netted 25 points and 13 rebounds. Hibberts was the only JC player with double figures.
Preparation paid off
"I feel great, words can't explain," said Ardenne's coach, Basil Barrett, who after the match was doused with Gatorade by members of his team.
"We knew that the second game would not be easy and as such prepared for Calabar by reviewing a tape of the last match and working on our weak areas. We could have won by more, but we shot poorly in the first half, but all in all I am satisfied," added Barrett, who has now won 10 senior team coaching titles. He also has 15 junior titles - urban and national - to his credit.
Ardenne narrowly dominated the first quarter 10-9, but in the second proved why they were favourites heading into the showdown, winning it 27-18. The third quarter was much of the same with the champions outscoring their green and black-clad counterparts 12-8 for a 39-26 lead, before taking the fourth quarter - with the game virtually over - netted 11 points to the losers' eight.
"We came out with a game plan to try and force a Game Three and were doing well in the first quarter. But Ardenne started to pressure us and we could not handle it," said Calabar coach, Ludlow Barker. "It's now on to the nationals where we hope to do much better," he declared.
Meanwhile, JC's coach, Kurt Stewart, said his team played according to instructions and was duly rewarded.
"The guys followed instructions, stuck to the basics and kept their focus," he said. "I am really proud of them."
The nationals for both competitions will start next Tuesday.