Bahamas falls short of historic Olympic berth in 86-78 loss to Spain

By July 08, 2024

The Bahamas' quest for a historic first Olympic basketball berth came to a heartbreaking end on Sunday, as they fell to Spain 86-78 in the 2024 FIBA Qualifying Finals in Valencia, Spain.

Deandre Ayton, the Portland Trail Blazers' centre, delivered a commendable performance with 17 points on 8-14 shooting, 14 rebounds, and two assists in 36 minutes of play. Ayton's efforts throughout the FIBA Qualifying Tournament in Valencia were notable, as he averaged 19.5 points and 11.8 rebounds per game while shooting an impressive 64.2 per cent from the field.

Buddy Hield, recently acquired by the Golden State Warriors, led The Bahamas in scoring during the final with 19 points, while new Philadelphia 76ers signee Eric Gordon contributed 15 points.

For Spain, former Blazer Rudy Fernandez, 39, added nine points, two rebounds, and two assists. Guard Lorenzo Brown was the top scorer for Spain, registering 18 points, including 4-5 shooting from beyond the arc.

Entering the final as underdogs, The Bahamas put up a valiant fight but struggled to recover from a crucial 25-17 second quarter in favour of Spain, which ultimately proved to be the difference in the game.

Spain's significant free-throw advantage also played a pivotal role, as they shot 23-25 from the charity stripe compared to The Bahamas' 10-13. Additionally, Spain's superior ball handling was evident, winning the turnover battle 15-11.

Despite the loss, The Bahamas showed fight. Ayton's standout performances, coupled with solid contributions from Hield and Gordon, underscore a promising future for Bahamian basketball on the international stage.

The team’s valiant effort in Valencia marks a significant step forward, and while they fell just short of an Olympic berth, the experience gained and the competitive spirit displayed bode well for future international competitions.

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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