Cavs, Lakers in Sunday’s final

The only thing that could have stopped the blazing Station Hill Cavaliers last night was an extinguisher. They blew away Orange Three Pinelands by a whopping 29 points, winning 93-64, in the Barbados Amateur Basketball Association’s Premier League Knockout semifinal at the Barbados Community College.

Cavaliers ended the first three quarters in charge with the scores 20-12, 46-33 and 71-50 before taking a well-deserved victory that earned them a place in the final where they will challenge the Barbados Lumber Company Lakers for the title this Sunday at the same location.

In the opening semifinal encounter of the Co-operators General Insurance-sponsored competition, Lakers trounced Urban Vybz St John Sonics 78-63 to ensure they advanced.

The last game drew much attention with two of the best teams in the league battling each other. It was the Adrian Craigwell-coached unit in their traditional green that dominated the opening quarter thanks to captain Jason Smith freeing his arms outside the semicircle for three three-pointers as Cavaliers took an early eight point lead (20-12).

Joel Hunte of Station Hill Cavaliers drives to the basket while Orange Three Pinelands power forward Ian Alexander tries to block him. (Pictures by Morissa Lindsay)

Smith and Kevin Sealy both netted a total of 14 points each but it was Joel Hunte who top-scored with 15 points while Stephan Ottley and Corey Howard both accounted for 12 points each and Darren Hunte who chipped in with nine.

After a sizzling opening period, Cavaliers swingman Smith surprisingly sat out most of the second quarter that allowed Pinelands the opportunity to cool things down somewhat and bring the deficit to three at 20-23. Each time Pinelands made a run to catch-up during the earlier stages of the game, their opposition managed to keep the scoreboard ticking over and pulled away once more.

Cavaliers decided to up the tempo at 38-25 when Hunte nailed a three-pointer that showed in addition to Smith, Cavaliers had other shooters who could take care of business. They extended their lead by 16 just before half time.

Pinelands’ defence needed to box out Cavaliers and keep their shooters quiet but that did not happen despite a good effort from wingman Junior Moore. Moore had a good night on the offensive end with 18 points, Derion Hurley chipped in with 16 and there were nine points each from Ian Alexander and point guard Jeremy Gill. Gill was off his game somewhat and did not make much of an impact.

Cavaliers lost power forward Jamai Puckerin who was sent packing four minutes into the third quarter by referee Andrew Mayers after committing his fifth foul of the match, a decision that did not sit too well with the big man. He got somewhat aggressive with Mayers who wasted no time in signalling a technical.

That did not stop Cavaliers’ flow as they took care of business inside the paint and kept ball possession when necessary to maintain their dominance throughout.

Another blow out came when Lakers led by captain and shooting guard Keefe Birkett with a game high 25 points, dominated Sonics during the first three quarters 16-15, 38-30, 56-52 before running away with the win.
Also reaching double figures for Lakers were Ormond Haynes with 13 points and Chiamaka Browne with 11 points.

Ramon Simmons (left) of Urban Vybz St John Sonics was tasked with marking Barbados Lumber Company Lakers point guard Keefe Birkett (with ball) who had a game-high 25 points.

As the premier league season continues, Sonics with the addition of Charles Vanderpool and Ramon Simmons this year seem unable to gel. A noticeable downfall for Sonics was the fact that both power forwards Vanderpool and captain Akeem Marsh played away from the key instead of positioning themselves near the hoop to capitalize on defensive rebounds.

Apart from Marsh and Jamar King who both finished with 16 points, no one else managed double figures for Sonics.

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