Jamaica scored a close and exciting two-point 69-67 win over Costa Rica as the first FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 CONCENCABA Pre-Qualifiers started in San Salvador, El Salvador, yesterday.
The Jamaicans whom are ranked number 96 in the world, just had two training sessions before the start of the five-team tournament, led by as many as 17 points in the third quarter and had a big second quarter to thank for their close victory.
Four Jamaicans scored in double figures, led by Omari Johnson, who had 16 points and nine rebounds; Marcel Robinson, who fouled out in the third quarter, scored 13 points, 11 in the first half, Kevin Foster scored 12 points and Joel Bailey came off the bench to score 11 points.
Victor Arias had a game-high 17 points for Costa Rica, Kay Martinez scored 14 points, Carlos Quesada scored 13 points and Isaac Conejo scored 12 points.
Jamaica will next play Guyana who lost their first game against Nicaragua,. On Saturday the team will face Nicaragua before their day off on Sunday and then close out against El Salvador on Monday.
The top three teams from this tournament will advance to the second pre-qualifiers as they seek to qualify for the World Cup in 2023.
On Thursday the game was tied at 17-17 after the first quarter but the Jamaicans had a big second half, outscoring Costa Rica 24-7 for a 17-point (41-24) lead.
Costa Rica battled back in the third quarter to cut the deficit to eight points, 52-44, and came as close as two points in the second half.
– (Jamaica Observer)