CHRIST CHURCH, Barbados — The Virgin Islands Men’s Basketball Team, which rolled through the Caricom Championships, ran out of steam in the title game Saturday, losing 64-56 to host Barbados and a wild crowd at the Wildey Gym.
Barbados held the Virgin Islands to three points in the final two minutes to complete a comeback. The Virgin Islands, 4-1 in the eight-team tournament, was coming off big double digit victories over Trinidad & Tobago and Guyana before playing Barbados in the final.
On Saturday morning, Barbados radio disc jockeys encouraged Bajans to attend the game to support Barbados. An unofficial 5,000 spectators showed and turned the gym into a house of noise.
"It's always difficult beating the home team in the final," said Virgin Islands coach Tvester Anderson. "It's more difficult when you're a young team."
With the silver medal, the Virgin Islands qualified for the 2001 CentroBasket tournament, which will feature larger nations such as Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Mexico.
The Virgin Islands hushed the crowd by taking an early 14-7 lead. Barbados came back to claim a 19-18 advantage but he Virgin Islands went into the half leading 35-28.
The Virgin Islands led for most of the second half, but made crucial turnovers down the stretch that allowed the home crowd to get into the game.
Barbados took a four-point lead with 2:10 remaining but Calvert White cut the deficit to 57-56 with 1:50 remaining. Barbados outscored the Virgin Islands 7-0 the rest of the way. Barbados' Andrew Alleyne, who scored 20 points, had six points in the final two minutes.
White, who was named to the All-Tournament team, led the Virgin Islands with 15 points.
"We played inspired basketball at times and we didn't play inspired at times," said Anderson, who also coaches at Murray State University in Kentucky. "Once you're ahead by seven points in someone's else's gym, you have to put them away."
Barbados swept the tournament. Earlier on Saturday night, the Barbados women's team beat Jamaica for the title.

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