D.R. team beats V.I. again, 78-73, at Centrobasket
Published: June 23, 2012
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The Dominican Republic has been a recent nemesis of the U.S. Virgin Islands senior men's basketball team, and the squad's heated rivals struck again Friday.
Walter Hodge led the USVI in scoring again but it wasn't enough as the USVI fell to the D.R., 78-73, in the team's final game at the 2012 Centrobasket Championships tournament in San Juan.
The USVI fell to 1-3 and will not advance to today's semifinal round.
The top four teams - Puerto Rico (4-0), the D.R. (4-0), Panama (3-1) and Jamaica (3-1) - will battle it out this weekend for the tournament title. Each team also qualified for the Tournament of Americas next month, which will be another step toward qualification for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
Hodge, the USVI's leading scorer in all four preliminary games this week, paved the way again with 18 points. Ivan Aska III tallied 14 points and eight rebounds, while Aaron Brown added 13 points.
Kitwana Rhymer came off the bench and had eight points and a team-high 10 rebounds for the USVI, which fell behind at halftime, 45-34.
USVI coach Milton Barnes was not available for comment.
The D.R. also knocked off the USVI in the third-place game at the 2010 Central American and Caribbean Games in Mayaguez, P.R. It was the first time the USVI had advanced to the medal round at the CAC's. That loss was also the third time in three weeks the D.R. had rallied in the final period to beat the USVI.
On Friday, Jack Martinez finished with a game-high 23 points to go with 11 rebounds to pace the D.R.
The USVI made a big push in the end of the game, and held the D.R. scoreless over the final three and half minutes, but to no avail.
On Wednesday, the USVI collected its only win of the tourney after it jumped out to a 10-point lead in the first quarter and rolled to a 92-64 win over Costa Rica. Hodge led five double-digit scorers for the USVI with 25 points, eight assists and four rebounds.
Aska III finished with 17 points and Phillip Jones added 16 points and a team-high 15 rebounds.
For its latest trip to Puerto Rico, the USVI was without two of the team's leading scorers from last summer after it put together a perfect 5-0 run at the 2011 Caribbean Basketball Confederation Championships in the Bahamas. Kevin Sheppard was the team's leading scorer in a 91-89 championship victory over the hosts, while Cuthbert Victor was a double-double machine during the eight-team, five-day tourney.
It was the USVI's first CBCC title since 2002, but the team did not run into the D.R.
- Contact sports writer Aaron Gray at 714-9102 or email email@example.com.