April 9, 2006 — Offering a smorgasbord of teams, fans and fun, the first annual Biddy Basketball Invitational Tournament at Antilles School finished Saturday with a face-off between the two best teams in both the boys and girls categories.
The tournament began Friday with the first five games, eliminating girls teams from the Moravian and Leonard Dober elementary schools, along with boys teams from the All Saints Cathedral School, Uller F. Muller Elementary, and Antilles School's B team.
According to many coaches at Saturday's event, the games were a preseason warm up for the girls elementary school basketball league, and a last hurrah for the boys teams, whose season finished in late March.
Other teams, such as Joseph Sibilly Elementary School, didn't have any time to practice before facing off Saturday against Evelyn Marcelli Elementary School and Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School in the boys category, and Muller in the girls category. "Sibilly has a small team and there's no court at the school, so I had no illusions about how we were going to play today," Sibilly coach Sidney Bell said. "But it was a good opportunity for us, and the tournament was a great idea. I just wish it were being held over Easter weekend so it could have been longer."
"It's really like the first set of practices for us," Jerry Petersen, coach of the Muller girls team, said. "I was coaching the boys team before this, and since our season just finished, I only had about a week to pull this team together before the tournament started. But it's been really good so far, and the tournament was a great idea – a lot of fun for the kids."
After beating Sibilly Elementary School Saturday, Petersen's team faced off against the E. Benjamin Oliver Elementary School in the girls championship game — a low-scoring affair in which both teams combined for 19 points in the first half.
Oliver came out very aggressive, playing a full-court pressure defense, which caused multiple turnovers. "We were getting mad because we were getting pushed down and fouled by the Oliver team a lot," Muller's Roseanne George said after the game. "We thought they were doing it on purpose. But our coach told us to calm down, so we started to play better after that."
While Oliver ended the half with an 11-8 lead, both teams went back and forth trading shots for the third quarter, and George – who also was the girl's tournament scoring champ – opened the fourth quarter with eight straight points. She scored all of her game-high 12 points in the second half, to give her team its largest lead of the night, making the score 22-15 with 3:30 left in the game.
Muller would not score again for the rest of the night. Oliver tried frantically in the last two minutes to close the gap, but came up just one point short, allowing Muller to win their first elementary girls championship by holding on to a 21-22 victory.
Teniqua Martin was Oliver's leading scorer with eight points, while Muller's Germequa Bell was named girls tournament Most Valuable Player.
"Oliver was playing us tough during this game, and the girls were getting frustrated," Petersen said after the match. "But, I just told them they needed to compose themselves, have confidence and play some defense. They turned it around after that."
In the final – and possibly most exciting – game of the night, BCB took on the Julius E. Sprauve School in the boys championship game. The first half was dominated by defense with both teams causing multiple turnovers with their full-court press. BCB's superb ball movement allowed them to take an early 10-point first-half lead, making the score 25-15 in favor of BCB.
After a halftime pep talk from their coach – accompanied by loud cheers from their parents in the stands – Sprauve cut the lead to two, with 5:32 left in the third, making the score 23-25 in favor of BCB. Sprauve's excellent ball movement broke down BCB's full-court press, which was giving them trouble in the first half.
During this time, Sprauve's Dequan Clive hit a huge three-pointer which caused the team and their fans to explode with wild shouts and words of encouragement. The shot made it a one-point game.
However, BCB's experience and deep bench wore down the young and undersized Sprauve team. BCB won by 15 points, with a final score of 45–30.
Sprauve's leading scorers were Clive and Bryan Morton, who each scored nine points. BCB's leading scorers were Rodrique David, who scored 16 points, and the boys tournament MVP Jarar Benjamin.
The scoring champion for the boys tournament will be determined next week.
"It was an easy game and an easy season," BCB's Rashawn Francis said after the match. "The only real competition we had tonight was from Kirwan Terrace [the Gladys E. Abraham School on St. Thomas]; the rest of the teams, like Sibilly, we eliminated early on. But it feels good to win, and it was a fun tournament."
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