Executive Air Dover can now breathe a lot easier after winning a thrilling 84-81 encounter against Pan American Life Insurance Warrens to level the best of three Barbados Amateur Basketball Association’s Division One semifinal series 1-1 Thursday night.
Played at the Young Men’s Christian Association’s hard court at Pinfold Street, St Michael, Dover took charge of the match-up from the outset, commanding the first three quarters 13-10, 32-29 and 55-45. They not only registered this victory in game two of the series, but in the process ended Warrens’ undefeated run in the league.
The contest was so intense that it went into overtime but in the end Dover held firm with point guard Seon Hillman scoring a game high 30 points. He was well supported by the big man Ryan Lewis who scored 27 points and Godfrey Leacock who chipped in with nine and solid defence.
After coming close in game one last week Dover ensured they took care of business against a strong offensive Warrens side with former national players that include Zahir Motara and Peter Alleyne, two of the best shooters on the team who were unable to connect with the basket as they normally do thanks to excellent defending by Dover.
Both Motara and Alleyne scored 24 points while the towering Pearson Griffith netted 13 points and Kevin Austin added 12 for Warrens.
The game was still open for the taking from either side of the court and with Dover taking a three-point lead at half-time, Warrens, who usually score most of their points in the last two quarters, perhaps were confident of taking the lead but the men from Christ Church were having none of it.
Dover led 48-39 in the third quarter when Dyson Gill who finished with eight points in the game, Hillman and Lewis each scored to expand the lead 54-39 to Dover. Motara with a free throw made it 40 to Warrens who called time-out with 1:50 minutes on the board left to play in that quarter. On resumption Griffith and Alleyne combined had five points but it was not enough to stop the men in yellow who led 55-45 heading into the fourth and decisive quarter.
Hillman signalled his intentions pretty early with a deep three-point shot to start the quarter followed by a two as Dover moved over the 60-point mark early in the fourth quarter. Javid Beckles scored four of his seven to help Warrens reach 50 and it was from there on that Warrens began to show more intensity.
The game got interesting with just under five minutes left to play and the scoreboard reading 64-56 to Dover. Austin with two and Motara with a three-pointer and then a two point basket cut the deficit down to just one at 63-64.
Austin wasn’t finished as he went on to put away two free throws to give Warrens a 65-64 lead and put Dover on the back foot. But not for long, as both teams would continue to have the scoreboard ticking over. With just nine seconds left Dover were ahead 75-74 when Motara earned himself two free throws and even though missing the first was able to put away the second for the equalizer that forced the match into overtime.
As expected the scores would be pretty close in the five minutes of overtime and that it did at 79-79 when Alleyne began to cramp. Dover took advantage with Hillman, Lewis and Gill teaming up for five points to give them momentum and an 84-79 advantage. Unfortunately for Dover, though, their star shooter Hillman fouled out with a minute left to play.
Motara as expected found a way to free himself inside the semi- circle for a two-pointer with under 20 seconds to play but Dover’s defence was good enough to ensure Warrens did not find those other three points they so badly needed for another reprieve.
In the other semifinal played Thursday Hawks took a 1-0 lead in their best of three series defeating Police 85-83 (23-13, 51-30, 73-67) in what was another keenly contested match-up.
Top scoring for Hawks were Tramaine Shaw with 23 points, Shaquan Newton and Daniel Durant with 15 respectively and Rommel Bynoe ten. Meanwhile for Police Jarad Alleyne had 19 and Junior Small 15.