Cavs’ gauntlet

Champions make emphatic opening statement

Reigning queens Station Hill Cavaliers slammed University of the West Indies (UWI) Blackbirds 61-41 in their opening game of the 2015 Barbados Amateur Basketball Association’s Women’s League played at the Wildey Gymnasium last night.

In the No. 1 Beauty Supplies and Beauty Exchange-sponsored league, Cavaliers were unstoppable from the get go when they commanded the first three quarters 21-7, 33-18 and 44-26. The UWI were without the services of top players Toni Atherley, Sade Clarke and Jennifer Joseph-Hackett.

Station Hill Cavaliers’ shooting guard and top-scorer Maria Cumberbatch (with ball) tries to shake off Nikita President of UWI. (Pictures by Morissa Lindsay)
Station Hill Cavaliers’ shooting guard and top-scorer Maria Cumberbatch (with ball) tries to shake off Nikita President of UWI. (Pictures by Morissa Lindsay)

Meanwhile in the other league game played Hoopsters edged Urban Vybz St John Sonics 46-45 in a nail-biting encounter. The Hoopsters team, made up of mostly schoolgirls, came out on top after being down 6-11, 17-23 after two quarters, coming from behind to take the third quarter at 36-31 before eventually winning the game.

Hoopster top-scorer Makela Walcott (second left) watches as teammate Melissa Goodman (with ball) is defended by St John Sonics’ top scorer Tiffany Husbands.
Hoopster top-scorer Makela Walcott (second left) watches as teammate Melissa Goodman (with ball) is defended by St John Sonics’ top scorer Tiffany Husbands.

The featured game of the night, however, was the Cavaliers and UWI contest and if one can recall this was last year’s match-up for the finals and it was clear that Cavaliers were sending an early message to main rivals UWI that they will need to up their game if they want to dethrone them.

A clear 14 points separated Cavaliers from UWI who struggled with their defence and frequently allowed their opponents to get easy baskets. There was no stopping Cavaliers shooting guard Maria Cumberbatch who ended with a game-high 28 points with at least ten of those coming in the opening quarter which she dominated with point guard Ria Phillips and center Astrid Alleyne who both scored 14 each.

Small forward Jeniece Clarke scored ten for UWI and was the only player to reach double figures with the closest to that being Tonya Corbin with eight. That just summed up what a night UWI had on court. Cavaliers did well to block most of their progress every time they attempted to go to the basket even though the second quarter arguably might have been their best with a total of 11 points compared to just eight in the penultimate quarter.

In the third quarter Cavaliers were up 33-18 and their trio of Cumberbatch, Alleyne and Phillips turned up yet again to torment UWI. But it was Safiya Henry who chipped in with five points who scored a two-point jumper to put the defending champions on to 40 and from there on things went smoother for Cavaliers. At one stage in the fourth and decisive quarter the score mushroomed to 47-31 when Phillips scored a three-pointer to put Cavs on 50 points and from there it was plain sailing until the final whistle.

In the other game played Sonics did well to command the first two quarters but Nakish Joseph scored the game-changing two-pointer that locked the scores at 23. Then Hoopters point guard Makela Walcott who was the only player on her team to reach double figures with 12 scored two to put her team in the lead and an eventual five-point advantage leading into the final quarter.

Combo guard Tiffany Husbands played extremely well for Sonics with her game- high 24 points and had she scored her attempt on the buzzer with the scores 46-45 to Hoopsters then the game would have a different outcome. But she didn’t.

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