Power forward Akeem Marsh’s game-high 26 points led Urban Vybz St John Sonics to an exciting 71-68 victory over Orange Three Pinelands who now have a familiar face by the name of Ian Alexander in their squad.
The former Barbados Lumber Company Lakers top forward made his first appearance wearing orange and black uniform for Pinelands who were down to Sonics in the first three quarters 21-20, 40-37, 55-45 and eventually lost the game by a three-point margin in what was arguably the best game so far in the 2016 Cooperators General Insurance-sponsored Barbados Amateur Basketball Association Premier League season.
But Alexander contributed only six points for Pinelands who lost their first match for the season to the better team on the night. Junior Moore top-scored with 23, Jeremy Gill had 14, captain Charles Vanderpool netted 12 and Ramon Simmons contributed 11.
One of the exciting highlights was Marsh versus Vanderpool. Both men were on court for more than 35 minutes of the game and Marsh won the battle with a breakdown of 12 rebounds with eight on the defensive end and four on the offensive while nailing 12 of 17 free throws. Vanderpool on the other hand had six rebounds with five of those coming on the defensive end and managed to score four of six free throws.
Lakers’ loss is now Pinelands gain with the 6ft 6in Alexander making his appearance five minutes into the first quarter.
The scores were 17-16 to Pinelands when Dwayne Kellman who contributed 15 points in the game turned up the heat for Sonics with two consecutive two-point shots followed by two free throws to take his side’s tally on to 21. Alexander scored his first two points of the game followed by Moore with two to cut the deficit down to one for Pinelands.
The second quarter was just as close when Sonics led by three points at 38-35. Romaine Lovell ensured that the St John men maintained their lead when he scored to take them on to 40 at half time.
In the third quarter Sonics extended their lead comfortably thanks to Marsh who was responsible for taking Sonics on to 51 with assistance from Kellman and company who attacked Pinelands defence relentlessly. The Pine men needed something special and even though Alexander scored an easy two point lay up to take them on to 41, they needed a lot more of those to take the fight to Sonics who went into the decisive quarter with the momentum and leading by ten points 55-45. In the fourth quarter Pinelands netted a total of five to reach 50 and the few spectators had a game on their hands when the score reached 57-52. Gill decided to join in on the action netting a shot and the ensuing foul. This was followed by a fantastic pass from Gill to Moore in the back court for an easy two points that put Pinelands on top 58-57.
As expected the turnovers and steals came into play as both teams sought to find the basket but Sonics found the break at 68-66 when the big man Marsh drove to the nets for two to take them on to 70. Alexander netted two free throws to make it 68 for Pinelands and with 20 seconds to go in the game Lovell seemingly mistook Gill for one of his teammates and put the ball right into the shooting guard’s hands but Pinelands failed to capitalize on the opportunity. Sonics regained possession of the ball through a steal and Tyrel Clarke went one on one with Moore who ended up fouling and that allowed Clarke to score one of two throws and sealed the game for Sonics.
In the other encounter Combined Schools Tridents defeated VYB Patriots 70-62. Nikolai Burton led all-scorers with a game high 31 points for Tridents and was the only player to reach double figures. The scores at the quarters were 12-17, 35-31, 50-45.