WHILE it took an all-round team effort from Guyana to close out St Vincent and the Grenadines 104 – 102 in double-overtime last evening in Suriname, it was 18-year-old Stanton Rose who fashioned the victory with his sensational game-high 41 points in one of the best individual performances at this year’s Caribbean Basketball Confederation (CBC) Caribbean Championships.
Rose, who also had eight rebounds and three steals, lit up the Anthony Nesty Stadium, scoring 16 of his 28 attempts, inclusive of nine three pointers. The youngest to ever captain Guyana at a Caribbean Championship, Rose, who hails from Kwakwani, helped Guyana to rally from being down by as many as 13 points.
St Vincent and the Grenadines took advantage of Guyana’s lack of size on the inside, and raced to a 26 – 18 first quarter lead. By half time, the Guyanese men, despite scoring just as many as St Vincent in the second period (20), trailed 38 – 46.
Whatever was discussed by head coach, Junior Hercules, at half- time certainly fuelled Guyana, with Rose leading the charge and scoring the bulk of his 41 points in the third quarter, helping Guyana to outscore St Vincent and the Grenadines 24 – 16, to spark their come-back.
The two sides entered the final stanza of the nail-biting encounter with the scores deadlocked on 62 points, but after then, it was a ‘seesaw’ affair, with the scores ‘changing hands’ regularly. Guyana made the game as difficult as it was with their horrible shooting from the free-throw line, where they finished the night only scoring 13 of their 38 attempts.
Ray Victor’s 15 points, eight rebounds and four steals proved detrimental, since the British Virgin Islands-based player picked the pocket of the St Vincent players at crucial stages.
Sean Baptiste, St Vincent’s best player on the night (26 points, nine rebounds, four steals), played end-to-end, but with Rose leading a Guyana team firing on all cylinders, even Chrisford Telesford (17), Phillip Lawrence-Ricks (16 points, 11 rebounds), could’ve helped.
Both teams scored identical points in the fourth quarter (19), but Harold Adams (6), with Guyana trailing 76 – 81, was fouled on a three-point attempt and was sent to the line.
The Victory Valley Royals forward failed to connect on the three shots from the ‘charity line’, but in a twisted turn of events, Adams would score the basket to tie the game at 81, which saw things heading into the first overtime.
Both teams traded baskets evenly and Rose made several big plays after the other, including a steal, where he found Travis Belgrave for a lay-up which turned out to be the basket to help send things to overtime, with the game tied at 96.
In second overtime, Victor and Rose turned up big for Guyana, who eased away to the well-deserved win.
Anthony Moe showed flashes of brilliance in his 13 points and eight rebounds, though playing out of position on the floor.
Up next for Guyana is a clash against St Lucia on Wednesday. They will play their final group game on Thursday, when they hope to remain unbeaten and reach the semi-finals for the first time since 2003.