Barbados Lumber Company Lakers were victorious 77-72 to tie the Co-operators General Insurance Barbados Amateur Basketball Association best of five series final 1-1, against defending champions Orange Three Pinelands Thursday night at the Barbados Community College.
Similar to game one played on Monday where Lakers commanded the first three quarters before allowing game one to slip from their grasp, Thursday night at the college they seemed heading towards the same fate. Yet again they controlled the first three quarters 26-17, 38-30 and 63-50 before faltering by one point 72-71 in the fourth with a minute and 22 seconds left to play.
Lakers knew they needed to find their top shooter Keefe Birkett and that they did as he buried a three-point shot. Pinelands needed to keep an eye on Birkett who ended the game with 11 points and even though they did a good job earlier on in the game, the pressure was too much for Pinelands to keep him quiet in the fourth quarter. Point guard Jeremy ‘Bull’ Gill of all people found himself in foul trouble, committing his fifth personal on Birkett with a mere 9.8 seconds left to play.
Of course Birkett would not miss those that easily and he drilled both free throws. Fellow point guard Chiamaka Browne then made one of two free throws to seal the five-point victory for the men wearing their traditional blue and yellow uniform.
Browne top-scored with 20 points for Lakers. He also had four assists and one steal and showed his endurance by playing 37 minutes and 17 seconds of the game..
Jamal Singh, another one of Lakers’ shooters, tallied 13 points and power forward Jehu Lafeuillee chipped in with 12.
Pinelands found themselves in lots of foul trouble as the entire team accounted for 19 compared to nine by Lakers. Another one of Pinelands’ forwards Junior Moore almost fouled out having received four and escaped a few calls. Pinelands, coached by Renaldo Maughan, were also unable to make good use of their rebounding opportunities especially with Moore (12) and Gill (seven) doing a good job in that department especially on the defensive end.
Gill came up with a game-high 26 points burying eight two-point shots and two three-pointers and having a perfect percentage from the charity strip of four of four free throws. He exited the action after being on court for 37 minutes and 27 seconds.
Derion Hurley had 18 points while Moore contributed 13 points for Pinelands in their losing cause. The final goes into game three tomorrow at BCC.