Pinelands, Warrens win their opening match-ups
Orange Three Pinelands and Pan American International Insurance Corporation Warrens both won their opening games in the best of three play-offs in the semi-finals of the Co-operators General Insurance-sponsored Barbados Amateur Basketball Association’s Premier League.
Playing last night at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex, Pinelands defeated Hilton Resort Warriors 82-60 and commanded the game throughout each quarter with scores of 21-14, 36-32 and 63-39. Meanwhile Station Hill Cavaliers went down to Warrens 67-64, with the quarters ending 18-13, 32-29 and 48-43 in a keenly contested game.
In the second game of the night Jeremy Gill scored a game high 23 points and Junior Moore with 15 for Pinelands.
Warriors shooting guard Corey McDonald who finished with 18 points opened the game with two of those. But Steve Sealy immediately responded with a three-pointer for Pinelands and center Charles Vanderpool backed that up with two points from free throws after being fouled by Tremaine Shaw.
Warriors managed to lock the scores at six thanks to a sweet two-point layup from the veteran Nicholas King who dribbled past Pinelands’ defence and soared to place the ball inside the nets. At that stage Gill hit one of his six three pointers of the night to put Pinelands back in the lead which they advanced further with Moore and Vanderpool scoring two each along with a three-pointer from Halley Franklyn which give Pinelands a seven point advantage going into the second half.
Gill contributed a total of eight points in the second quarter but Moore and Ramon Simmons who ended with 12 in the game did not really show up as Warriors fought back well through McDonald who had netted seven along with an additional all-round team effort. Late in that quarter Warriors did well to put themselves back into the game with the score at 31-30 to Pinelands who still managed to maintain the edge. But Warriors had no reason to fear because they were down just four points as the quarter came to an end.
At times Pinelands were given a bit of room on the offensive side and they capitalized on it especially in the third quarter that proved to be the game changer. First Pinelands went up 38-32 after being awarded two free throws. Then Vanderpool who can hit them big scored a three pointer which was followed by two from Simmons along with another three by Gill and before one knew it Pinelands were up 49-32.
Warriors only managed one point that resulted in them calling a time-out. But whatever was said did not make much of a difference as Pinelands continued their momentum led by Gill and Simmons who ended the penultimate quarter with 11 and seven points respectively. Gill nailed another three pointer just seconds before the referee’s whistle to finish that quarter in style.
The Pinelands men had a lead of 24 going into the decisive quarter and Warriors needed to defend well and keep Pinelands at bay or find some kind of miracle to get themselves back into the game. Warriors did fight well and scored 21 points in the period but that was not enough as Pinelands again outplayed them to sink 22 points in the final period.
In the first semi-final play-off Warrens star player and point guard Andre Lockhart top-scored with 20 points. Shooting guard George Farrell contributed 15 points and had a hot hand in the first quarter with eight of those. Lockhart started slowly with two and five points in the first and second quarters but picked things up in the third and fourth with seven and six points respectively.
For Cavaliers Jamal Puckerin and Aamir Morris both played well but their efforts were not enough to stop Lockhart and his men. Puckerin ended with 16 points and Morris 12 along with 11 from small forward Darren Hunte. The second semi-final match-ups are scheduled for tomorrow at the Barbados Community College starting at 6 p.m.