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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, July 23, 2024


SAN GERMAN, Puerto Rico — The Virgin Islands men's basketball team, rebounding from an opening-game disappointment, came back on the second day of the Central America and Caribbean University Sports Games to beat Barbados 91-45 with an impressive performance.
Kevin Sheppard ignited a balanced scoring attack Monday with 10 points, including the first four of the game as the Virgin Islands started a run for its first University Games medal.
"We played every possession," said Sheppard, one of seven Virgin Islands players to score in double figures.
The Virgin Islands was coming off a disappointing 83-57 loss against host Puerto Rico on Sunday's opening day. In that loss, the Virgin Islands led by 12 points in the first half. The score was tied 27-27 at the half but Puerto Rico outscored the V.I. 56-30 in the second half.
"In our first game, we came out playing too," said Sheppard, an Educational Complex alumnus. "I guess we figured after getting a lead we could blow them out and everybody started playing one-on-one basketball and forgot about the team. This time, we came back with good teamwork."
Against Barbados, Sheppard, a Jacksonville State guard, set the pace with two straight layups to start the game and the Virgin Islands built at 12-4 advantage after five minutes of play and took a 43-22 advantage into halftime.
The Virgin Islands played a tenacious defense that forced numerous fast-break layup opportunities.
Alphonse Niles and Carlos Hawkins scored 12 points apiece to lead the Virgin Islands. Johnson Isidore and Steve Hodge each scored 11 points. Sheppard, Leroy Gore and Cuthbert Victor all added 10 for the Virgin Islands, which will face Mexico at 2 p.m. Tuesday.
The top two teams in the preliminary round will earn a spot in Saturday's final. The third and fourth-place teams in the preliminary will compete for the bronze on Saturday. Monday was a busy day for the Virgin Islands University Federation squad. The women's basketball team lost 114-48 to Mexico, which led 57-31 at the half. Natasha Lettsome paced the Virgin Islands with 24 points. The women's team will take on Colombia at noon Tuesday.
Stephen Jones, the Virgin Islands' lone track runner, finished seventh in the 100-meter final. Jones ran the sprint in 10.97 seconds, 5/10th of a second off his personal best. Jones will run the 200 meters on Wednesday.

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