April 14, 2007 — A celebrity game featuring local politicians, entertainers and media personalities kicked off the ninth annual Sun Stroke All V.I. Hoop Classic Friday night at the Central High School Gym in front of quite a large crowd.
The celebrities were broken up into two teams, Team Duncan and Team Sun Stroke. Both team turned in entertaining performances, and the game had one of the most exciting finishes in the Hoop Classics celebrity-game history. Duncan came away with a hard-fought 63-62 victory on a last-minute shot as time expired by Spriggy of the local band UMB Soldiers.
After entertaining the crowd for most of the first half, the teams found themselves separated by one point at the half, with Sun Stroke holding a 27-26 leadheading into the locker room.
Led by renowned disk jockey D.J. Benny, Sun Stroke opened up a 10-point lead on Duncan in the second half and looked set to blow the game wide open. It was 51-41 with 11 minutes left when, behind the hot hand of Isle 95 DJ Dave Martinez, Duncan began their comeback. Utilizing the hack-a-shack strategy, Duncan fouled to put Sun Stroke on the line, and they failed to capitalize on their free-throw opportunities, Duncan went on a 12-2 run and took the lead at 54-53 on a skyhook by Spriggy with 5:19 left in the game.
By now all of the fans were loudly showing their appreciation for the excitingly humorous contest.
Duncans lead was brief, and with 14.5 seconds left they found themselves trailing 62-61 with the ball. A tie-up and a jump ball controlled by Sun Stroke meant all they would have to do was run out the clock and the win was theirs.
Duncans last hope was to foul and put Sun Strokes on the line. With seven seconds left, Spice, another UMB Soldier, got fouled and went to the line for one and one. He missed the front end and Duncan's D.J. Martinez grabbed the rebound. Martinez threw a pass almost the length of the court to Spriggy, streaking down the right side. Spriggy then drove to the basket and dribbled behind his back to get by the lone defender. He laid the ball up and in as time expired, to the delight of the fans who seemd to cheer on both teams.
After the celebrity game, it was time for the skills contest, which showcased players' ball-handling abilities. Corey Hodge of St. Thomas Antilles school won the boys' contest, while Chantal Cooper, also of Antilles school, took home the trophy in the girls contest.
In the three-point shootout, Centrals Omar Vanterpool took the boys' high honors with a net of 14 points. In the girls' contest, Victoria Hamilton of Antilles School had the hot hand in the final round to beat all comers with a net of 12 points.
The exciting slam-dunk competition went to Jomoie Miller of St. Thomas Charlotte Amalie High School, whose array of high-flying acrobatic slams captivated the crowd while his competition had trouble getting their acts together.
The action continued Saturday night with the high school all-star basketball games. The games feature the best male and female high school basketball players from St. Croix against the best from the St. Thomas-St. John district.
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