Burger King Clapham Bulls needed this win.
Apparently, the Station Hill Cavaliers needed the services of Jason Smith even more.
The Bulls took advantage of a listless Cavaliers side playing without their starting shooting guard, on their way to a blowout 77-56 victory in the Co-operators General Insurance BABA Premier League competition at the Wildey Gymnasium last night.
Smith, serving a one-game suspension after being ejected in the Cavs’ previous game against Orange 3 Pinelands, could only watch from the stands as his side shot a woeful 18 of 73 from the field, including three of 25 from behind the arc.
They weren’t much better from the free-throw line either, hitting just 17 of their 30 attempts during a forgettable shooting performance.
Despite those shoddy statistics, the Cavs were still in the contest up to the opening minutes of the fourth quarter, when Kevin Sealy’s three-pointer brought them within four at 50-46.
However, fuelled by Stefan Yarde and Ramon Byer, Clapham went on an 18-2 run over the next six minutes to effectively end any chances of a comeback.
Kodia Leacock started the run with an “and one” play, which was quickly followed by a jumper from Byer.
Interestingly enough, from thereon, the Bulls only made four more field goals, while making their living at the free throw line after getting the Cavs in the penalty from the five-minute mark.
Clarke especially took full advantage, scoring eight of his game-high 17 points during that period.
The Cavaliers’ defenders just could not keep the diminutive guard out of the paint, as he regularly found his way to the basket with the utmost of ease before being fouled.
By the time he sank his last point of the game, Clapham had opened up a 20-point lead (68-48) with 3:33 left in the game.
Station Hill would get no closer than 17 the rest of the way, on the way to picking up their second loss of the season.
Earlier, both teams had recovered from a dismal first quarter showing which saw both teams tied at 9-9 after the opening period.
Even then, Yarde had showed glimpses of what was to come, knocking down two long range treys, while also going two of three from the charity stripe after being fouled attempting another long range effort.
The second quarter produced a much better showing, with Rahiim Gibbons and Byer combining to give Bulls an eight point lead (21-13) midway through the second period.
The Cavaliers however staged a furious rally in the closing minutes of that quarter which ran over into the opening minutes of the third, with Jamai Puckerin’s jump hook actually tying the game once again at 34-34.
But a layup by Taurean King and another “and one” by Leacock helped to give the Bulls the lead this time for good.
Leacock and Byer finished with 12 points apiece and Gibbons scored 11 for the Bulls.
Joel Hunte scored 16 points in a losing cause for the Cavs and his older brother Darren contributed 11.
In the night’s first game, defending champions Pinelands also suffered their second loss of the season, going down to Hilton Resort Barbados Warriors 70-58.
Warriors were led by an outstanding all-round performance from Ricardo Toussaint, who filled up the stats sheet on his way to a memorable 25-point, 10 rebound, three block and five steal effort.
Corey Mcdonald scored 14 points and Nicholas King added 13.
For the Pine, who were playing without stars Junior Moore (suspension) and Jeremy Gill (injury), Charles Vanderpool led the way with 23 points, while Ramon Simmons and Anthony Barrow each had 13.