Guard Theo Greenidge scored a game-high 29 points to ensure Spartans beat Blackbirds 86-76 and catapult his team into the Barbados Amateur Basketball Association’s (BABA) Premier League for the first time.
Playing at the Wildey Gymnasium in the First Division final playoff game last week, Greenidge pulled out all the stops to help extract the Spartans from a 19-22 deficit at the end of first quarter and ensured that his side never again trailed until eventual victory.
BABA’s First Division is ranked one tier below the prestigious Premier League, into which the Spartans have been unable to enter by winning the First Division and moving up in the relegation-promotion scheme that promotes the lower division champions and demotes the League’s last placed team.
“We have been fighting for a good while now. This is about six years that we have been knocking at the door, getting to the playoffs. The quarrelling and bickering seemed to be beating us. But we finally got that under control this year,” Spartans coach Edmund Brathwaite said.
He however concedes that now the Spartans will be dribbling off in the big league for the 2020 season, changes are needed to be competitive.
“Now that we are here we hope to retain those 19-year-old six-footers whose only basketball outlet used to be the town teams. We have to go shopping as our team presently has a number of older guys and I do not know if they are ready for the pace. We will have to do some shopping in the younger crowd.”
Spartans’ second highest scorer was Philip Harewood with 22 points, followed by captain Dale Franklyn at13.
Though the quarter-by-quarter scores will show a Spartans domination after the first with leads of 42-34 and 59-48 in the second and third periods respectively, they almost blew the game in the fourth when Blackbirds reduced their lead to just two points.
But the bustling Greenidge took things into his own hands by sinking a three-pointer and following with lay-up to re-energise Spartans who went on to put the game beyond doubt.