Urban Vybz St John Sonics and Barbados Lumber Company Lakers got the the 2017 Barbados Amateur Basketball Association League Season on the bounce with respective wins Thursday night at the Barbados Community College.
Sponsored by Co-operators General Insurance Company Limited, the opening match of the league season featured newly promoted Hawks and Sonics. The St John-based team came out on top 80-70 with the scores after the first three quarters being 18-22, 36-35, 58-49.
Meanwhile last year’s defending knockout champions, Station Hill Cavaliers, lost their first league match to Lakers 73-67 (19-18, 30-34, 53-48) in the final game of the night.
The most eye-catching encounter was perhaps the first match. Sonics have a unit filled with experienced players this year after recruiting the services of national power forward Charles Vanderpool and point guard Ramon Simmons who were both part of Orange Three Pinelands team last year when they won the league title.
Both Vanderpool with a top score of 19 points and Simmons with six featured on court last night. Other than Vanderpool, Akeem Marsh, another power forward, was the only player into double figures with 16 points. Between the two defenders there was a total of 25 rebounds with 15 from Marsh who had 11 defensive and four offensive while Vanderpool had ten with six defensive and four offensive.
Despite not reaching double figures four players tallied eight points for Sonics and they were Shane Whittaker, Stefan Clarke, Dwayne Kellman and Jamar King.
Even though Sonics had the size and experience, it was not the kind of blowout many expected as Hawks with a number of fast breaks during the match held their own against Sonics with shooting guard Rommell Bynoe scoring a game-high 29 points to start the season for the Bayland lads with a bang. Also adding double figures to the score sheet for Hawks were Shaquan Newton with 14 and captain Tramaine Shaw with 11.
Bynoe was so good on the night he nailed five of six three-point shots, nine of 12 field goals and six of seven free throws. He also had six defensive rebounds and two assists.
In the second showdown of the night, Lakers with the return of Adrian Allman managed to capture a six-point victory over Cavaliers. Allman and Keefe Birkett top scored with 16 points each along with 14 from Omond Haynes. Meanwhile, Stephan Ottley was the only player to reach double figures with 13 for Cavaliers, Corey Howard and Jamai Puckerin had eight each, Saeed Norville and Jason Smith had seven and there were six points scored by Darren Hunte and Joel Hunte.
The scores were tied 65-65 when Allman shot a three followed by a two to take the lead to 70-65 and suddenly the scoreboard read 72-65 with 46 seconds to go in favour of Lakers who held on to win the intense battle.