Wood’s heroics

Star player leads Hoopsters to thrilling win

Twenty seconds left on the clock and center Latifa Wood managed to earn herself two free throws that resulted in Hoopsters snatching a thrilling 64-63 victory over Urban Vybz St John Sonics at the Wildey Gymnasium last night.

That win allowed Hoopsters to advance into the semi-final playoffs of the No.1 Beauty Supplies and Beauty Exchange-sponsored Barbados Amateur Basketball Association Women’s League. They have joined reigning queens Station Hill Cavaliers, University of the West Indies Blackbirds and Challengers who have all secured their places.

Latifa Wood (going up to the basket) played inspirational basketball for Hoopsters.
Latifa Wood (going up to the basket) played inspirational basketball for Hoopsters.

The momentum fluctuated in the first three quarters when Sonics led 14-12 but fell away carelessly to be down 30-18. However they managed to bring themselves back into it at 44-43. As usual Tiffany and Chantal Husbands led from the front for Sonics with 25 and 13 points respectively along with 11 from Rosalind Davis.

Tricia Phillips with a two-pointer tied the scores at 14-14 at the beginning of the second quarter and from there on Hoopsters who had failed to make accurate passes at the beginning of the first-quarter took the lead thanks to a great feed into the paint to Lieann Connell-Forde who finished the job.

That was followed by a free throw from Mellisa Goodman along with a two-point lay up by Tatyana Waldron to take Hoopsters on to 19. Goodman tallied 11 points in the game and Hoopsters really turned the heat on when star player Wood who had a game-high 33 points and 17 rebounds, scored ten in the period.

With 18 seconds left to play in the quarter she went up strong once again for two to carry her side on to 30 points just before referee Jennifer Joseph-Hackett blew her whistle to signal half time.

After half time Sonics knew they were in trouble and needed a big effort from someone and that person proved to be Tiffany who netted 12 points to bring the St John ladies back into it. The game changer came in the dying stages of the third quarter when the score was 43-42 and Tiffany from the left shot two to give her team the lead with a one-point advantage 43-42 leading into the decisive quarter. Sonics totalled 26 points compared to the 13 scored by Hoopsters in that quarter.

Tiffany Husbands of St John Sonics was under heavy guard by Hoopsters.
Tiffany Husbands of St John Sonics was under heavy guard by Hoopsters.

The final two minutes of the fourth period proved to be most interesting when Sonics led 58-57 and their defenders Chantal Husbands and Davis fouled Phillips who netted one of two free throws to lock the scores.

Then just when the ladies from rural Barbados managed to go up by two compliments Chantal, Wood sunk two of her own.

Neither side let up and Chantal earned a free throw which she nailed but Nakish Joseph’s basket put Hoopsters back in the lead at 62-61. With 24 seconds to go on the clock Sonics with a never-say-die attitude went up 63-62 thanks to Neesha Austin who looked to be Sonics’ hero or so many thought. But Wood rose to the occasion yet again and managed to give Hoopsters hope after being fouled on a move to the basket and being sent to the charity strip.

At that point of the game the intensity was high as many thought that the decision given was a poor one. Wood appeared to have travelled, taking four steps en route to the basket when the referee made the call. To make matters worse for those disappointed Sonics’ spectators, Wood scored and sealed the game for Hoopsters.

The first round of the knockout is scheduled for tomorrow at Culloden Road between Hoopsters and Challengers starting at 6:30 p.m.

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