Derion Hurley turned up with a game-high 30 points for Orange Three Pinelands in the opening clash of the Co-operators General Insurance Barbados Amateur Basketball Association’s Premier League best of three playoff series at the Barbados Community College Sunday22 night.
The defending champions Pinelands came out on top 96-90 (25-17, 44-54, 74-72) over Cavaliers on a night when three-pointers were the order of business, especially for Hurley who accounted for five of them.
Interestingly enough these two teams were in last year’s league final but only one will go through this time around with Pinelands already securing a 1-0 advantage.
Hurley shaped things up nicely and last year’s Most Valuable Player and point guard Jeremy ‘Bull’ Gill ended with the second highest tally of 20 points while forward Junior Moore added 18 in Pinelands’ six-points victory.
Cavaliers, without head coach Adrian Craigwell who left the island yesterday as one of three assistant coaches for the Barbados Unider-21 team competing at the World Youth Netball Championship in Gaborone, Botswana, were placed on the back foot early but they managed to rally in the second stanza and led by ten points heading into the third quarter. Joel Hunte netted 17 points and Saeed Norville had 14.
Even though Cavaliers were without the services of Joel’s older brother Darren who was present during the game but did not play, they had a major boost to their attack with power forward Kelvin Patterson muscling Pinelands’ defence as he ended the match with eight points.
Apart from Norville, captain Jason Smith and Kevin Sealy accounted for 14 points each and Corey Howard had 12. They were down by two points [72-74] at the end of the penultimate quarter which set up the fourth and decisive period to be an interesting one.
Pinelands remained in control as pressure mounted on Cavaliers, the 2017 Knockout Champions. The score was 93-85 to Pinelands with 1:05 minutes on the board when Cavaliers forward Kevin Sealy committed a foul on Gill in the view of referee Jennifer Hackett. Sealy was not very happy and voiced a few expletives at Hackett that resulted in an automatic technical.
The showdown was so intense that even with only 33 seconds to play with the scores being 93-85, eight points were collectively scored by both teams with Cavaliers producing five of those but in the end, it was Renaldo Maughan’s men that prevailed.
In the other match, Akeem Marsh delivered with a game-high 28 points but it was not enough to stop Urban Vybz St John Sonics from suffering a 77-73 (13-14, 41-27, 64-45) loss at the hands of Barbados Lumber Company Lakers.
Scoring for Lakers was a fired-up Jamal Singh with a top score of 23 points while assistance came from Keefe Birkett and Chiamaka Browne with 13 points each and Jehu Lafeuillee with 12. Meanwhile, for St John, Ramon Simmons had 16 and Charles Vanderpool added 12 to Sonics’ eventual tally.
The series continues this Thursday, July 6 at the BCC.