(Top left to right) John Griffith Jr., Shukoi Sprauve, Patrick Hendrickson, Miseal De Lacruz, Dante Mccot and Nekwante Sprauve. (Bottom left to right) Abraham Nunez, Jaco Lewis, Melvin Burgess and Kaleed Powell. Coach Clarence Stephenson stands behind the team.
On Saturday, May 11, Julius E. Sprauve School’s elementary boys basketball team wrapped up a perfect season by winning the Virgin Islands Territorial Championship.
With a perfect season on the line, and having already earned the title of St. Thomas/St. John District Champion, the JESS basketball team beat the undefeated St. Croix District champion team from Claude O. Markoe in two games.
The JESS Seagulls, under the direction of coach Clarence Stephenson, were led by Shukoi Sprauve, who was named the championship game MVP. Shukoi Sprauve scored 27 points and posted 10 rebounds along with five steals in the clinching game.
This is the best finish yet for the JESS Seagulls elementary school basketball team, who made it to the district’s final four before losing last year.
The group continues to improve and the community can only expect more championships to come, explained Coach Stephenson, who has been coaching youth basketball on St. John for six years and been helming the JESS team for one year.
“Last year we made it to the final four and the year before that the Guy Benjamin School team I coached won the district championship,” said Stephenson. “We’ll be back next year for sure. We have a great program going and the girls and boys teams are going to be great next year.”
All this basketball success on St. John comes despite the lack of a functioning full court on which to practice. The Pine Peace basketball court, which often flooded, is currently under renovation and is not expected to open for several months.
In the meantime, the JESS student athletes have been practicing on the Estate Adrian half-court, but they’re excited for the new court to be finished, Coach Stephenson added.
“They can’t wait for the new court,” he said. “The kids are really excited.”
JESS Elementary Basketball Coach Stephenson, JESS Athletic Director Lea Richmond and school principal Dionne Wells are extremely proud of these student athletes, who played hard all year!