Sun Stroke Hoops Classic: VI’s Falls Short of Traveling Streetball Talent

The Sports and Fitness Center was near Capacity to take in Saturday night's action. (Kyle Murphy photo)
The Sports and Fitness Center was near Capacity to take in Saturday night’s action. (Kyle Murphy photo)

The 20th Annual Sun Stroke Hoop Classic provided a dramatic, back-and-forth game on Saturday night, with the Virgin Islands team falling in the end to a team of traveling streetballers, 128-119.

The game was played at the University of the Virgin Islands Sports and Fitness Center.

The Sun Stroke Hoop Classic was started by Rashidi Clenance with the purpose of promoting high school athletes and showcase the territory’s talent. This year the high-school level players were Jonathon Elias from Charlotte Amalie High School, Jahnai Jones and Kimani McIntosh of Central High School, Khadeem Horsford from Educational Complex and Earl Baker Jr,, a key player on the Under-17 National Team.

The game gave the young players the chance to compete against tough competition and play with some of the best to ever play from the Virgin Islands.

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A part of the proceeds from event will be used to resurrect the Hood Hoops Inter Neighborhood League.

This year’s edition featured the territory’s all-time most decorated basketball player, Tim Duncan, who finished the game with 21 points and 15 rebounds. On the game’s first play Duncan was able to prove that he could still throw it down with authority.

The game was back and forth in the first quarter, as the visiting ensemble of street ballers lead 30-22 after one quarter. They then started shooting the lights out, opening the second quarter on a 17-4 tear over the first three minutes to extend their lead to 47-26. They kept their momentum going the whole quarter and took a 76-54 lead into the halftime interval.

But the V.I. team was not ready to get embarrassed in its home gym and came out into the second half with new energy, starting the half on 12-4 run and cutting the deficit to just 14 points within three minutes. The three point shots kept falling and the deficit was down to single digits with seven minutes to go in the quarter.

With 1:30 remaining in the quarter, the VI was still down by four, but they were able to finish the quarter strong and take a 99-98 advantage.

The game went back in fourth in the fourth quarter until the Virgin Islands got cold around the seven minute mark and the visiting team went on 8-0 run to gain a nine point lead with just over four minute left.

The closest the game got after that was when Tim Duncan hit a free throw with 53 seconds left to shorten the margin to four but, the games leading scorer “White Chocolate” scored the games last five points to secure the win for the visiting team, as he finished the game with 51.

Khalid Gerard lead the Virgin Islands team with 41 points.

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