Bahamas forward Shaian James drives to the basket against her Suriname defender.
By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
AFTER losing the opening game of the FIBA U17 Centrobasket Championship for Women 53-39 to Costa Rica, the Bahamas bounced back on Thursday to take their frustration out on Suriname with a 86-69 rout.
Leading from start to finish, the Bahamas had four players in double figures as forward Valicia Demeritte led the attack by scoring a game high 20 points on 9-for-17 from the field and 2-for-6 from the free throw line in 34 minutes and 43 seconds. She also had eight rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Guard Alana Pinder, in a team-leading 36:45 minutes, was next with 17 points, hitting with 3-for-6 shots from the field and behind the three-point arch and 2-for-2 from the charity stripe, to go along with six assists, five rebounds and five steals. Team captain Tanea Bowleg, in 30:15 minutes, also had 7 points on 5-for-12 from the field, 2-for-7 from the three-point line and 5-for-6 from the foul line.
Centre Brionte Riley, playing 21:36 minutes, contributed 12 points with 12 rebounds, three steals and two assists. All but two of the Bahamian players, scored in the game. Centre Ulrica Butler had eight points, three rebounds and two steals and centre Michell Butler had six points and five rebounds.
The Bahamas, coached by Varel Davis and assisted by Terrarance Red Eye McSweeney and Deven Johnson, opened an impressive 22-9 lead at the end of the first quarter. By the half, Suriname cut the deficit to single digits as they trailed 43-35. Both teams scored 22 points in the third as the Bahamas stayed ahead 65-57. But, on a 21-14 spurt in the fourth, the Bahamas coasted to the win.
Suriname also had four players in double figures with captain Jolaine Nijman scoring 17 points with four rebounds and three steals.
The Bahamas led in all of the shooting categories, except for three-point, which saw both teams shoot 40 per cent. Surinam had a 28-15 advantage on the offensive rebounding, but the Bahamas made up the difference with a 37-23 edge on the defensive end for a total of 52-41 total.
A 20-16 margin put the Bahamas ahead in assists, but Suriname had 28-35 difference in turnovers, 22-16 in steals and 2-1 in block shots. The Bahamas, however, committed 25 fouls compared to just 19 by their opponents.
Both teams had just eight fast break points, but the Bahamas enjoyed its biggest lead of 19-0, had a 54-44 advantage in points in the paint and a 12-7 edge in points off the bench.
Surinam scored 37 points from turnovers with the Bahamas only getting 28. The Bahamas was also 14-11 against Surinam in second chance points but both teams had 12 points each in their biggest scoring attacks.
The Bahamas led for 39:43 minutes of the 40-minute game.
Today, the Bahamas will have their hands full as they take on hosts Puerto Rico in the feature game at 7pm. Puerto Rico leads Group B with a 2-0 win-loss record, while the Bahamas is sitting in second at 1-1, the same record of Costa Rica, whom they will play on Friday to complete the round robin.
Mexico tops Group A at 2-0 with El Salvador and Guatemala trailing 1-1 for second and third respectively. The British Virgin Islands are 0-2 as are Surinam in fourth place in Group B.
The competition system of the tournament consists of two phases. In the Group Phase, the eight participating teams are divided into two groups of four teams. Teams play in the round-robin format for three days.
The best two teams from each group will advance to the next phase, where the first place of Group A will play against the second place in Group B and vice versa. The winners of the Semi-Finals will advance to the Gold Medal Match, while the losers will play for the bronze of the continental event.
The top-three teams from the tournament will qualify to the FIBA U18 Womens Americas Championship 2018.
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