Warrens draw first blood in playoff series
Pan American International Insurance Warrens have taken game one, 78-63, in the best of five Barbados Amateur Basketball Association’s Premier League series finals against Orange Three Pinelands played last night at the Wildey Gymnasium.
Warrens’ point guard Andre Lockhart was in the thick of things throughout the night and top scored with 20 points. He got excellent assistance from power forward Dario Cumberbatch who had 15 to help their team command the first three quarters at 24-15, 34-33 and 56-43 before running away with the game.
Pinelands were without the services of their top guard Jeremy Gill who appears to be nursing a shoulder injury and because of that spectators were denied a Gill versus Lockhart showdown.
Not having Gill meant Charles Vanderpool and his men needed to step up their game but they found the going tough against Warrens even though shooting guard Ramon Simmons played outstandingly to end with a game-high 25 points for Pinelands. Simmons actually started the game off with a bang sinking one of his five three- pointers.
The scores were 8-7 to Warrens and Lockhart hit a three pointer that was followed up by two from Cumberbatch to make it 13-7 and it was at that stage that Warrens really progressed nicely. Warrens went up by 23-9 but Simmons showed up and nailed two back to back three pointers to make it 23-15.
Warrens’ captain Pearson Griffith, George Farrell and Manuel Alleng all tallied eight points each for Warrens.
Griffith scored two to put Warrens up 31-20 during the second half but Pinelands put on a relatively good showing in that quarter when they took the attack to the opposition. It all started with center Vanderpool being fouled and scoring just one of his two free throws to put his side on 21. From there on Simmons teamed up with Anthony Barrow who netted two thanks to a good pass, then Simmons followed up with two of his own and then another two from the experienced Vanderpool which put Pinelands on 29 points and within range of Warrens.
Cumberbatch was fired up and he responded with two points along with a free throw that carried Warrens to 34 points. Pinelands however got four points just before the half concluded when Junior Moore scored a free throw and the pint-sized Steve Sealy rattled the nets with a three pointer to bring Pinelands back into the game and a mere one-point difference between them and Warrens at 34-33.
That play from Pinelands certainly foreshadowed the penultimate quarter to be an exciting one, or so many thought. Warrens came out in business-like fashion with Lockhart nailing another one of his three pointers, followed by two baskets each from Griffith, Cumberbatch and Adrian Allman which pushed the score to 43-33 and Pinelands in need of a kick start.
Simmons would be the man to get Pinelands off the mark yet again with a three pointer in the third quarter to make it 43-36. Lockhart sank two free throws and Moore responded for Pinelands with two also. The game changer however came when Greig Springer drove to the basket for two, Lockhart notched a three pointer followed by two-point shot that put Warrens on 52 points.
Dwayne Pollard managed to score two for Pinelands to put them on to 40 but they simply did not bring anything else to the party. Warrens just continued to box them out as Cumberbatch hit two consecutive shots. Vanderpool with a free throw and Kirk Elias with a two-pointer tried to make a last minute surge for the Pine men but to no avail.
With a 16-point lead to Warrens, Pinelands were dead and practically buried leading into the final and decisive quarter. Pinelands not only needed to score heavily, they needed to make some defensive stops and they did neither as Warrens continue to pounce on them on the offensive side and dominate on the defence.
In the division one finals Patriots defeated Newbury 65-60. Julian Walcott top scored with 17 and Shawn Hill had 16 for Patriots while Stevenson Callender with 18 and Kevin Patterson, 16, were the main scorers for Newbury.
The playoffs continue this Sunday at the Barbados Community College.