The 2016 Cooperators General Insurance-sponsored Barbados Amateur Basketball Association’s Knockout trophy is now up for the taking and Station Hill Cavaliers and Hilton Barbados Warriors will decided who want it more when they meet in the final. Last night Warriors were responsible for denying last year’s champions Orange Three Pinelands from advancing.
In the first semifinal encounter of the Premier League knockout at the Wildey Gymnasium, the Nicholas King-led unit secured their place after defeating Pinelands 69-59. The score sheet read 16-10, 28-30, 43-42 after three quarters. In the second semifinal Pan American Insurance Warrens with their star player Andre Lockhart on the court, went down 52-45 to the Cavaliers. The Cavs led 11-9, 25-18, 43-27 after three.
It was a close game between Warriors and Pinelands with just a mere point separating them at the end of the third quarter. Warriors upped their game in the fourth and decisive period and much of that as a result of the play of small forward Ricardo Toussaint with a game-high 22 points. Shooting guard Corey McDonald 18 and King 14 played a crucial role in getting the better of Charles Vanderpool’s men. Pinelands only managed 15 points in the fourth quarter and despite a good effort from shooting guard Jeremy Gill who ended on 18 points and 13 from point guard Ramon Simmons, they simply lost the plot when it mattered most.
The score was 55-49 to Warriors with just under four minutes to go when Pinelands worked up a strategy to utilize the wings and pass the ball around away from Warriors defenders and that resulted in Derion Hurley nailing a beautiful three point shot to take their tally on to 52 but Toussaint and company waited patiently for their openings especially Justin Maloney with some great assists to Toussaint who either shot or drove to the basket off the dribble to put daylight between his team and Pinelands.
It should be an interesting match when Warriors take on a youthful Cavaliers side but no doubt Cavaliers will need to step up their game because their semifinal game against Warrens yesterday was not an eye-opening affair. In fact it was as though the game was played in slow motion.
At half time Cavaliers had a seven point advantage and just when one thought Warrens, the 2015 league champions, were going to give them a run for their money it was the complete opposite as they accounted for just nine points in the third quarter. Warrens allowed too many free throws to go a begging and failed to connect on offence whenever the ball was in their possession. Dario Cumberbatch with 15 points and Manuel Alleng with 14 put on a good show for them in a losing cause.
Cavalier center Jamai Puckerin ended on 14 points and provided an importance defensive presence in the middle for his side. But that was noticeably lacking on the Warrens end as they were without the services of the big man Pearson Griffith. Even though they had Antonio Sealy making an effort in the center he wasn’t the same intimidating force as Griffith.
Cavaliers were not affected by Sealy’s presence in anyway and went on to extend their lead by a 16-point margin in the third quarter and never looked back.
The knockout final is scheduled for Saturday, February 13 at the Wildey Gymnasium.