Acacia Small (leaping) was a dynamo of defence as the Bajan Gems went on a 23-1 run against St Vincent
The Bajan Gems destroyed St Vincent & The Grenadines (SVG) 40-8 when the Jean Pierre Under-16 Youth Tournament continued on Monday night at the Vigie Multipurpose Sports Complex in Castries.
After playing Dominica at 7.30 in the morning, the Gems started shakily turning over the ball as Dalia Knight seemed nervous in the goal shooter role. However, the Lester Vaughan student took confidence from her schoolmate Acacia Small playing goal defence at the other end to find her faith and range.
Ironically, Knight seemed at greater ease firing long range shots in leading the Gems with 27 goals from 43 attempts. Goal attack Chiara Chase continued to impress dropping 13 of 15 shots.
However, it was the awesome performance of Small, who ran the entire midcourt and the defensive circle, intercepting numerous passes and displaying a court craft which lifted the Gems and doomed the twin-island state.
The movement and elevation of Small, along with centre Shonica Griffith and wing attack Kimani Archer saw the Gems totally controlling the match.
The Gems moved to 5-0 before St Vincent & The Grenadines crept to 3-5. The Gems then went to 9-3 before their opponents grabbed one more point to end the first quarter. From a score of 17-7, the Gems then went on a 16-goal tear before their opponents scored again.
That one goal in the fourth proved to be the sole success St Vincent would enjoy as they failed to score in the third quarter. Not even three successive missed shots by Knight at 33-7 offered any hope as she then hit a long-range missile to ease the Gems closer to 40.
St Vincent used three shooters, with Chaunte Williams being the “best” scoring 6/12 while Julicia Mathews and Kristiana Christopher scored one goal each from four attempts. The Gems will face their sternest test today when they battle number one Jamaica in the final game of the tournament.
Today, at 7.30 a.m., the Gems meet Grenada and 12 hours later they will suit up for Jamaica. The Jamaicans will also be in action this morning, taking on Trinidad & Tobago. On Monday night, the presence of Prime Minister Allen Chastenet did nothing to help St Lucia avert a 36-21 Jamaican rout. Jamaica and the Gems are yet to lose a game but the Gems suffered a draw against St Lucia.
The Gems had placed second in the teams’ shooting competition, with Jada Smith, Chase and Kellisa Kelly scoring 93 goals from 164 attempts. T&T scored 100 from 188 and third placed St Vincent netted 92 from 165. (KB)