It was a long time in coming, but when the players from Clapham took the Barbados Amateur Basketball Association Championship trophy Sunday, they grabbed it with both hands from arch-rivals, Station Hill.
Clapham had dominated the first three quarters 19-14, 39-31 and 52-43 before trailing slightly in the final period. Going down to the wire in the last game of a best-of-five finals of this knockout competition, Clapham’s guard, Andrew Ifill, tied the scores at 61-61 by scoring the first of two free throws. He missed the second free throw but his team won ball control, he took a pass and drained a shot inside the paint, moving his team to 63-61.
Station Hill’s Jamai Puckerin then missed a jumper and picked up an apparent knee injury. Following the injury time-out Clapham’s point guard, Rahiim Gibbons, then sunk a jump shot, also within the paint, for the last score in the match with seconds to go to register the 65-61 victory over the four-time defending champions, at the Barbados Community College Court.
It has been a 13-year wait for the Clapham players to hoist this prestigious Barbados trophy.
Ryan Leacock was a player in that victorious team 13 years ago, and now he is tasting victory again as coach.
“It feels great to be back on top again because basketball is critical to the Clapham community, and you could see from the response of the fans how important it is to see Clapham basketball back again. We have been down for quite a few years, so it is great to see the programme making a turn,” coach Leacock said.