Barbados break BVI hearts in thriller
by JUSTIN MARVILLE
in Tortola compliments Co-operators General Insurance
THIS TIME BARBADOS avoided the heartbreak.
If only the hosts could say the same.
Keefe Birkett had a game-high 31 points, including the big game-winning trey with 37 seconds left, as Barbados barely survived British Virgin Islands’ (BVI) furious comeback bid to win Wednesday’s 77-76 thriller in the Caribbean Basketball Confederation Championships in Tortola.
The contest was a near carbon copy of last year’s group game, only with the roles reversed as Barbados clawed their way out of a 20-point hole only to lose 81-77 at the death.
This time it was the home side whose valiant comeback effort fell just short even though they erased all of a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit (67-50) to take a 73-71 lead on Killven Samuel’s go-ahead trey inside the two-minute mark.
Randy George then seemingly sealed the deal on a subsequent and-one play (76-74) only to watch Birkett sink the eventual game-winner – and the hearts of thousands – on a straight-away three off a well-designed inbounds play.
BVI still had a chance to force overtime after forcing a Jeremy Gill turnover, but Chiverton couldn’t finish his drive over Akeem Marsh, and high-schooler Franklyn Penn blew an easy put-back in the paint before Steve Parillon’s jumper missed long at the horn.
Gill finished with 16 points and Marsh added 13 for Barbados, who improved to 1-1 ahead of Thursday’s pivotal game against USVI, while George led the hosts (2-1) with 17 points and ten rebounds.