Tight at top
THREE POINTS SEPARATE PREMIER LEAGUE'S FIVE BEST
Barbados Lumber Company Lakers are now in the driver’s seat of the Co-operators General Insurance-sponsored Barbados Amateur Basketball Association Premier League standings. But only just.
In what was the final sporting activity played last night at the Wildey Gymnasium, now officially closed for renovation, the once dominant Lakers side defeated Combined Schools Trident 72-59 after leading 21-16, 35-30, 54-48 at the end of the first three quarters.
Lakers and Urban Vybz St John Sonics are tied on 23 points after the former’s win last night, Orange Three Pinelands are on 22, Warriors have 21 and Station Hill Cavaliers are on 20 to round off the top five. The featured game of the night saw Orange Three Pinelands getting the better of Station Hill Cavaliers 67-58, after the much anticipated match-up read 10-19, 26-30 and 49-43 after three highly entertaining quarters.
Pinelands big five delivered and used their experience to come from behind and take the game away from a young Cavaliers team. Shooting guard Jeremy Gill had lots of fouls called in his favour, and trips to the charity strip which assisted greatly with his top score of 18 points. The big man Ian Alexander contributed 16, Ramon Simmons had 15 and captain Charles Vanderpool notched ten points.
Cavaliers started the first quarter well and they had applied enough pressure especially on Pinelands forward Alexander who had two fouls and had to take the bench with less than three minutes to play in the opening quarter. Darren Hunte netted 14 for Cavaliers, Anand Joseph-Thorne and Joel Hunte scored 12 each and Jamai Puckerin, ten, picked up enough steam to lead by nine points in that period.
As expected Pinelands improved their game plan but at 26-22 in favour of the Cavs, Hunte and Puckerin powered their way to the basket for consecutive twos and took the total to 30 for Cavaliers. Then, in the back court, Alexander received a long pass and made no mistake with his slam dunk. And with only five seconds left on the clock Junior Moore followed that up with a lay-up to cut the deficit down to four for the Pinelands’ men.
After half time Cavaliers did reasonably well to keep Pinelands at bay at 36-30. Then a three-pointer from the left of the court by Joseph-Thorne took Station Hill to 39 and extended their lead even further. However, a collective effort of steals, stifling defence and accurate shooting allowed Pinelands to level the scores at 39-39 and from there they never looked back. Gill was the man responsible for putting them in the lead at 41-39 and changing the momentum of proceedings.
At the start of the fourth and decisive quarter Gill again produced a block and pass to Alexander who made good on the basket for Pinelands. Cavaliers were in search of the momentum they had at the initial stages and their trio of Darren Hunte, Joseph- Thorne and Joel Hunte gave it their all but Pinelands were the better team on the night. Alexander with a three-pointer and Gill with two points off a deft finger-roll closed out the game in style for Pinelands.
In the other match between Lakers and Tridents, Mark Bridgeman led the way with 19 points for Lakers, Keefe Birkett contributed 16 and Kregg Jones had 15. For Tridents Andrew Ifill scored 18 points, Jehu Lafeuille netted 11 and Shaquan Carrington scored ten.