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Hawks Girls and Caribs Boys Champs at SCEC Tournament

 

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Feature Story:  January 23, 2019

 
 

Hawks and Caribs

Champions of

SCEC Tournament

 
 

ST. CROIX, USVI - The Virgin Islands Department of Education, Division of Sports & Athletics recently held a two-day basketball tournament at the St. Croix Educational Complex with participation from high school teams from across the Territory. The fun-filled weekend concluded with exciting championship games where the Charlotte Amalie High School Lady Hawks defeated the Central High School Lady Caribs with a score of 38-20, and the Caribs defeated the Barracudas in a 55-41 win that was full of heart.

 
 

According to Caribs Coach Swanston, his team’s intensity from tipoff to the game-ending buzzer was key in gaining and keeping the lead.

 
 

“Defense,” he said, “we played some tough defense.”

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Caribs Coach Swanston

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The legendary coach went on to say that he had some concerns about his team’s captain, Jahmai Jones, playing in the championship game after suffering cramping during the tournament’s back-to-back games against Charlotte Amalie High School and Ivanna Eudora Kean High School earlier in the day.

 
     
 

“The hearts of these kids is what it is all about,” Swanston said.

 
     
 

Pulling off a win like this was no easy feat, especially since the Caribs did it without a practice facility of their own. Since the 2017 storms that destroyed the Central High gymnasium, the team has been practicing at Juanita Gardine Elementary School’s gym. Coach Swanston eagerly awaits the completion of the Caribs’ mobile gymnasium in hopes of giving his team a chance to practice in their own home before the district championships.

 
     
 

In their own words. Some student-athletes and coaches shared their thoughts on the tournament and on life.

 
     
 

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Te’zell Henderson
Junior - CAHS Chickenhawks played center against Central High Caribs

 
 

 
 
  • One of the skillful standouts on the court
  • A two-sport athlete in Track and Field and basketball
  • Tallest of the starters, so she plays the center position among others
  • Has the ability to dribble from coast to coast like a guard, which she did several times during the game
  • She felt they played a good game and had great competition “They made us bring out our best; they forced us to work,” she said.
  • She is one of the few remaining team members left from the 2017 team
  • Her favorite subject is Math
  • When she completes high school, she hopes to get a full scholarship in either basketball, track or academics to
    Georgetown University, where she plans to study accounting
 
 

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Shanique Bell
Junior - CAHS Chickenhawks played Point Guard, was Top-Scorer against Central High Caribs and MVP of the Tournament

 
 

 
 
  • Shanique said the six points she scored “was not a lot,” but she points toward her overall play as the key to her becoming the winner of the tournaments’ MVP trophy.
  • At age 16, the 5'5" point guard became a bit of a shooting guard, making key baskets when it appeared that the Caribs were making a run Joining the team from 9th grade, Bell relocated after hurricanes Irma and Maria for her 10th grade basketball season, but missed being at home. She is happy to be back home for her 11th-grade season.
  • While away, Bell said she learned, “how to control my play and push my other teammates.” She credits the team’s win to everyone coming together, empathizing teamwork
  • Her prospects for this year’s team is “great!” In her words, “We killing it all the time.” She emulates Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durante while on the court
  • Math is her favorite subject
 
 

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Jahmai Jones
 Junior - CHS Carib played against SCEC High School Barracudas

 
 

 
     
 
  • His first year as captain, top scorer of the game and on the team, he took a while to get into his normal shooting rhythm—missing a number of shots in the early part of the game.
  • He is considered one of the best college prospects in the territory and was given the honor of playing alongside five-time NBA Champion, MVP, Allstar, Hall of Famer and Local hero, Tim Duncan during Duncan’s hurricane recovery exhibition games last summer. “It feels good to be known as one of the best players in the territory,” he said. “I am happy to make mommy proud.”
  • Due to a few losses earlier in the three-day round-robin tournament, the Caribs played the CAHS Hawks and Kean Rays in back-to-back morning session games to earn the rights to go up against the Barracudas in the championship game.
  • He feels good about this year’s team chances of being 2018 territory champions Defense, he says, was the key to their victory over Complex.
  • He enjoys Math and is taking an electricity class as he searches for a career path. It helps to keep the family close because his father is an electrician.
  • He hasn’t decided what career path he’ll choose after high school
  • Jahmai likes to watch Zion Williamson, the talented freshman from Duke University
 
 

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Jacani Horton
 CAHS Girls’ Coaches LaReina Robinson on the far left and Jacani Horton on the right

 
 

 
     
 
  • Now in his second year as head coach, he served as assistant coach for one year under the late, Myron Corbett
  • According to Horton, many of the girls on the team trained with his varsity team while they were still in middle school. He said they came with the necessary skills into their freshman year on the team. “What we are trying to teach them is the IQ of the game, the intellect and how to win,” he said.
  • His thoughts on the game: “I thought they played a beautiful game. They attacked the basket, made jump shots and played defense.”
  • The team consists of one freshman, two sophomores and four juniors, so the coach will have to rely on a talented class of freshman recruits next year “We don’t train to win these games, he said. “We train to go to the next level. These girls want to play in college, so everything we do is designed to help every individual get better, and give them the college experience through high school.” For example, the girls practice at 6:30am before classes to simulate next-level basketball. He said, “In three years, we have gotten about 4-5 girls into college.”
  • “I work with Coach Bough and other coaches to increase the development of girls in the territory. Our goal is to develop the whole student. Eleven months out of the year, these girls are training 4-6 days, lifting weights, running beaches and hills, being taught personal development and communication skills.” The students are currently certified to perform CPR.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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