The 2016 Co-operators General Insurance Barbados Amateur Basketball Association trophy now has Orange Three Pinelands written on it.
After four years of knocking, the door finally opened for Pinelands last night at the Barbados Community College when they won 78-67 against Station Hill Cavaliers to take the best of five series 3-1. The scores after the first three quarters were 17-17, 27-31, 55-49. After the match Pinelands’ management said the performance was dedicated to late coach Ryan Maynard who passed away a few months ago.
National captain and point guard Jeremy ‘Bull’ Gill averaged 19.5 points per game throughout the season and he top-scored with 20 last night en route to being named the playoffs’ Most Valuable Player award.
Pinelands’ other starters were Ramon Simmons who finished the game with 15 points, Ian Alexander who netted 14, captain Charles Vanderpool with 12 points and Junior Moore who scored six.
This is Gill’s fourth MVP title overall and in yesterday’s final he scored all 12 of his free throws and had a total of six rebounds along with five assists. Vanderpool and Moore had the most rebounds with eight each for Pinelands.
Cavaliers also had their customary five on the floor at the start of the game, led by captain Jason Smith who ended with nine points, Jamai Puckerin who scored 17, Darren Hunte netted 13, Kevin Sealy added 12 and Stephan Ottley, four.
With the scores locked at 17 Cavs’ Anand Joseph Thorne created a buzz at the BCC auditorium when he dribbled past Pinelands’ defence with ease to the basket to give his side the lead. Sealy had a good game in the second quarter scoring consecutive twos to take Cavaliers on to 23 and it was from there that Cavaliers who came into the fourth game with hope of levelling the series at 2-2, began to increase their lead.
Joel Hunte then teamed up with Sealy for a few eye-catching plays starting with an overhead pass from Sealy to Hunte who made good on the alley-oop. Cavaliers made another steal, one of 31 for the night, and Hunte delivered a mighty dunk to take Cavs to 31 points and the score 31-25 with 1:03 minutes before half time. Gill found another two points just before half-time but Station Hill had a four point lead at the break.
In the third quarter all would change even though Joseph-Thorne netted an early two for Cavaliers. Simmons started the ball rolling with a three-pointer from the left corner as Pinelands came from behind at 39-41 to take the lead 42-41 when Alexander nailed a three.
That was the turning point of the game for Pinelands who took control even though Cavaliers never gave up as the lead went back and forth between the two teams. It was at 49-49 with under three minutes to play when referee Erskine Simmons called a foul in favour of Pinelands’ Dwayne Pollard who scored both free throws to make it 51-49. Simmons followed up with consecutive twos to give the men in orange a six-point lead.
So confident were Pinelands that Gill was rested for five minutes of the fourth and decisive quarter. Derion Hurley, playing his first ever Premier League final, showed his shooting touch when he hit a long three point shot to give Pinelands a 68-64 lead.
Cavaliers coach Adrian Craigwell as expected called time-out but whatever instructions he gave, apparently did not cater to Gill who had his way with Station Hill’s defence scoring seven points in the last two minutes of the match and with just a few seconds to go Hurley showed he too could dunk and slammed one home just for his supporters who were extremely delighted.
After the game Gill told Barbados TODAY his aim was not to play for the MVP title but to play for Pinelands to win and even though they came out on top he added he thought they could have done a lot better.
“We are a team with lots of potential and we have three national players on our side and I think we just need to push ourselves some more. We know what each other can do so we tend to rely on each other instead of playing team basketball. So we needed to get each other on the same page,” said Gill, who made it clear that once he remains in good health he will be back for another league season.