The boys from the Pine are definitely sitting on loud nine.
Make that two out of two for Orange 3 Pinelands, who captured their second consecutive knockout title with a 70-62 victory over Hilton Barbados Resorts Warriors at the Wildey Gymnasium last night.
It also marked the second successive year in which the defending champions had defeated Warriors to take the season opening competition.
At one point, the champs had seemed headed for a blowout victory, as they held a commanding 50-28 lead midway through the third quarter.
However, some sloppy play by Pinelands allowed Warriors to mount a furious second half rally, during which they cut the lead to 11 at one stage.
After Ramon Simmons and Charles Vanderpool had begun the third period with easy layups, Warriors implemented a full-court press, which paid immediate dividends.
Kevin John banked in a jumper, before Tremaine Shaw added a jumper of his own and a three-pointer as part of a 12-4 Warriors run, which brought the score to 54-40 with 1:15 remaining in the quarter.
The Pine’s Hally Franklyn then picked up a needless technical foul, which allowed Daniel Durant to convert two free throws.
Nicholas King’s jumper to beat the buzzer trimmed the deficit to 12, as Warriors headed into the final quarter trailing 56-44.
A three-pointer by King to start the period reduced the deficit to single figures for the first time since the
But a layup by Anthony Barrow and Vanderpool’s three-point play, restoredPinelands’ double digit lead, 61-47 with 8:33 left in the game.
It didn’t help Warriors’ cause when King fouled out of the game just moments later.
Despite his absence, Warriors launched another rally against a seemingly shell shocked Pinelands unit, which continuously turned over the ball to their opponents as they struggled to deal with the full court press.
Shaw’s left-handed layup through traffic, was followed by a trey from Kenny Matthews, as once again the deficit was reduced to nine (63-54), when Shaw added another layup for good measure.
However a boneheaded sequence of plays from Matthews, undid all of their previous hard word.
First, in an easy 2 on 1 fast break, his errant pass fumbled off Shaw’s legs and out of bounds.
That led to a Simmons’ layup on the other end, and as if that wasn’t bad enough, Matthews then fouled Simmons as he jacked up a three-pointer with the shot clock running down.
The national shooting guard calmly scored all three shots to extend the lead back up to 13 with just over
two minutes to go.
Vanderpool then blocked Durant’s layup attempt, allowing Gill to race down the court for an uncontested layup to effectively seal the deal.
For Pinelands, Gill finished with a game-high 22 points, Simmons scored 18 and Junior Moore and Vanderpool added 11 points each.
For Warriors, Shaw topscored 15 points, John scored 13 points, Durant had 12 points and King scored 10 points.