There is no need for a third game in either of Barbados’ top tier basketball semifinal match-ups.
That’s because Orange Three Pinelands and Station Hill Cavaliers have both secured final spots with crushing two-game wins in the Co-operators General Insurance Barbados Amateur Basketball Association Premier League.
Last year’s losing finalists Pinelands have pulled out all the stops once again to reach yet another final by clinching the best of three series semifinal playoff 2-0 against Barbados Hilton Resort Warriors. They won the opening game last Sunday night and returned last night at the Barbados Community College (BCC) to defeat Warriors 77-68 after the first three quarters’ scores read 12-15, 33-33, 59-38.
Cavaliers also earned themselves a pass to the grand final with two convincing wins over the Akeem Marsh-led St John Sonics who lost their first game on Sunday and fell short again yesterday, 87-69. Cavs led 27-11, 48-25, 70-48 after three periods
The game that caught most persons’ attention was number one seed Pinelands who were captained by Charles Vanderpool. He finished with 14 in the game and had a starting five that included shooting guard Ramon Simmons (21 points), Ian Alexander (16), Junior Moore (ten) and Jeremy ‘Bull’ Gill (six). They all played for at least 30 minutes each during an encounter that lasted one hour and 55 minutes.
The going was a tough one for Warriors, who had some unfavourable decisions going their way. They were often seen voicing their frustration and enquiring to referee Rene Batson and Glyne Clarke about the calls being made. Jamar Headley netted a game high 23 points for Warriors and was assisted by Ricardo Touissaint with 14 and Justin Maloney 11. They all had a good run along with captain Nicholas King who had a few assists but unfortunately for them they lost a key player in Corey McDonald who was lifted off the floor with a left knee injury in the decisive fourth quarter of the contest.
Speaking of contest the match got interesting from the start of the second quarter onwards. Warriors were ahead by two and substitute Derion Hurley was heading to the basket for a layup when he was blocked but Gill was in the right position to capitalize on the rebound and tied the scores at 14-14. Kareem Farrell accounted for two points in the game and that came when Warriors needed it the most to keep the edge over Pinelands. The Pinelands men were up by four points 29-24 when Touissaint netted two free throws for Warriors who also made a steal and pass to Headley in back court for a sumptuous slam dunk that levelled the scores at 33-33 just seconds before half time.
Pinelands were good on the boards especially Vanderpool and Moore who had 12 each with majority of those coming on the defensive end of play. Warriors noticeably had a game plan where they swung the ball outside the semi-circle until they found a man cutting to the middle for the pass and layup while hoping to draw a possible foul off the play.
However that tactic did not work and Pinelands were ahead by ten points in the third quarter when Warriors’ coach Frederick Bynoe called time out but that made no difference and at 49-35 Alexander netted an easy layup followed by a three pointer from Simmons to take Pinelands further in the lead.
Clearly the momentum was in Pinelands’ favour and with five minutes left on the clock, McDonald dropped to the ground in pain after Moore stepped on his left knee during a tussle for the ball. To make things worse they were down by at least 20 points but when play resumed Headley was on fire going hard at the basket in an effort to salvage the game.
It was under three minutes and faithful Warriors’ supporters thought they had a chance but it was at this stage that defence mattered most to Pinelands and in the dying stages they did well to stave off Warriors’ efforts to walk away victorious.
Meanwhile in the second semifinal Marsh’s game- high 29 points could not prevent number two seed Cavaliers from coming out on top. Joel Hunte had 21 for Cavaliers, Anand Joseph- Thorne and Jason Smith scored 12 each respectively while Darren Hunte and Kevin Sealy had 11 each. Outside of Marsh Romaine Lovell was the only player to reach double figures for Sonics.
Game one of the finals is on Sunday at BCC at 8 p.m.