By Carlena Knight
Despite having to deal with an island wide power outage, there was no stopping the FIBA U17 Skills Virtual Challenge last Wednesday and Thursday which saw our local girls moving on to the next round.
At first, four teams were slated to participate in the 2020 Americas Qualifiers, those being Antigua and Barbuda, Guatemala, Panama and Cuba, but following local Covid-19 lockdowns in Cuba and Panama, they had to pull out at the last minute.
This meant that the two remaining teams Antigua and Barbuda and Guatemala had advanced to the FIBA U17 Women’s Global Skills Challenge.
In the head-to-head contest however, Guatemala defeated the Antigua team comprised of Mary Jane Grant, Melissa Haywood, Kai Joseph, Shavon Joseph, Palmira Pestaina and Jannique Blackstock winning, 231-167, 162-181 and 209-152.
Meanwhile, the boys’ team-Jaden Andrew, Cleon Joseph, Kevin Pimental, Seth Joseph, Javonte Daley, Shalom Bloodman, Jaheem James, Nicholas Bradshaw, Tequan Brodie, Kristian and Kory Winter were edged out by Panama and front runners, Puerto Rico who advanced.
They lost to Panama 148 – 182 in their first encounter but bounced back to defeat Guatemala 158 – 149.
In their final matchup however, they could not secure the much-needed win and were beaten by Puerto Rico 126 – 163.
This resulted in them finishing third in the four-team group with four points while Puerto Rico had six and Panama, five.
The skills challenge saw the junior ballers with a team of five begin their course by first passing a ball through a target. They were given three attempts for this obstacle course which would result in the gaining of one point, after which they would make a layup and then dribble through cones followed by a free throw shot which counted as two points if made. If thy missed the free throw, they would have to make a layup, race down to the opposite basket and attempt a three pointer. If made, that was an additional two points. If they missed, they would have to make a layup and then pass to their teammate until all the players had completed the course.
The timed event would decrease depending on how many points the team made altogether, and the winner would be determined by those times.