There will be a game three.
Patriots dug deep into their resolve to defeat Clapham Bulls 65-64 to draw level at 1-1 in the finals of the Barbados Amateur Basketball Association’s Division One League playoffs at the YMCA last night.
Before a small crowd not befitting a playoff final, Bulls’ point guard Rahiim Gibbons scored the first two points at the start of the game. What followed thereafter from both sides amid spells of skillful ball-handling and accurate shot-making, were too many turn-overs and unforced errors that led to the evident frustration of players on both sides as well as the few spectators present. The first quarter ended 12-11 in favour of the Patriots who had an answer to every offensive tactic the Bulls brought to the court.
At the start of the second quarter the evergreen Mark Foster made his presence felt on both boards as he accounted for the majority of the Bulls’ rebounds and blocked shots coming from well-timed efforts. Minimal support at this time came from his teammates who were held to ten points, while being outscored by the Patriots who ended the quarter with an additional 21 points. The half-time score was 33-21 in the Patriots’ favour. The second quarter was much of the same as neither team seemed to have a definite strategy other than to score the ball at all cost. The main contributors were Patriots’ Omari Jackson and Andre Stoute who scored nine points apiece at half-time.
In the third quarter the Bulls returned to the court with seemingly a new game plan. This coincided with an apparent drought from the Patriots as they collectively managed a mere nine points. However Foster and Gibbons stepped up the tempo for the Bulls and notched up eight points each as the Bulls managed 23 points in the period to take a slim 44-42 lead.
If they had gone into slumber in the third quarter, the Patriots came out for the final period showing they recognized it was a “do or die situation”. The boys from Cave Hill played as men possessed. They challenged every possession, every rebound, pressured the Bulls’ guards, drove to the basket at every given opportunity and clawed their way back into contention. It became a case of trading baskets with the Bulls all the way to the final whistle, outscoring the Bulls 23-20 for the period to come away with the narrow triumph. Shane Rock made a valiant effort in this quarter but it was all for nought as Patriots managed to seal the deal with a final steal from the Bulls. Gibbons also made a last ditch effort at a three-pointer but was called instead for a foul on his defender. To add a final nail in the Bulls’ coffin, a foul was also called on Foster as he defended a shot on the three point line.
For Patriots Stoute ended with 17 points and Justin Gaskin chipped in with ten. Gibbons had 15 for Bulls while Rock top-scored with 16, Foster and Alvin Padmore also had 11 each.
Game 3 is slated for 7 p.m. tomorrow at the YMCA.