Two teams, several experienced national players, and lots of pride involved. The #1 Beauty Supplies and Beauty Exchange Barbados Amateur Basketball Association Women’s championship trophy could go either side of the bench when reigning queens Preferred Insurance Brokers Pinelands take on Lady Cougars in the final this Wednesday.
When it comes to sports it is often difficult at times to determine a winner, and basketball is one of those sports that you never know which way the momentum would swing and in whose favour. But last night at Barbados Community College (BCC) there was no guessing.
From the sound of referee Andrew Mayer’s whistle, Pinelands ran with the advantage to brush aside Lady Tridents 79-47 (18-14, 34-17, 50-35) for a 2-0 victory in the best of three semifinals.
Similarly in the second women’s semifinal of the night, Cougars made light work of former 15-time queens, Fusionz Boutique Lady Cavaliers 78-43 to secure their place in the final.
As to whether national point guard Toni Atherley, Jennifer Joseph- Hackett and Tiffany Thorpe have what it takes to deny Pinelands led by captain, Sade Clarke, Maria Cumberbatch and Tamisha Flatts, is the final chapter not to be missed on October 4 when the best of three series final starts at BCC.
In the opening match, Tridents missed numerous chances to score but managed to settle themselves four minutes into the quarter, as they came from nine points down (4-13) to cut the deficit by one at 12-13.
That was when Pinelands’ power forward Latifah Wood with a relatively good season so far was able to charge the basket for a layup and also capitalize on the foul rewarded in the process. She scored three vitals points to derail Tridents’ threat to take the lead and give her team a four-point lead at the end of the first quarter.
Maria Cumberbatch produced a game-high 28 points with 12 two-point shots. Wood netted 18 points and accounted for the highest number of individual rebounds with 12, Flatts had 15 points and Clarke eight as the main scorers while Toni-Ann Johnson and Anicia Wood both accounted for four points each.
Tridents were down by only four points that appeared gettable at the beginning of the second quarter but unlucky for the young side they where without Zahra Ashby and Rashanna Thorne who both picked up injuries which stifled their attacking game.
Both teams lost key players as Latifah Wood found herself in foul trouble and was quickly replaced, as coach Ron Grant opted not to take any chances. With both teams being placed on the back foot, Pinelands with lots of experience on their side of the court were able to rally their way to a ten-point advantage at 30-20.
With three minutes to play, Thorne, who was the only player on her team to reach double figure with 12, came back on court and Tridents finally began to score, accounting for seven points just before half-time to reduce the score line to a seven-point margin.
During the third and fourth quarters Tridents’ defence failed to keep Cumberbatch, Flatts, Wood and Clarke quiet as the same script continued where Pinelands used a midcourt press to keep pressure on the ball whenever Tridents were in possession and that resulted in a number of steals and turnovers.
In the other encounter, Cougars lookedbusiness like from the inception, as they took a ten-point lead and dominated the first three stanzas 19-10, 36-20 and 63-32 thanks to a top score of 24 points by Toni Atherley inclusive of triple three point shots. She also had seven assists and three steals. Atherley even had the second most rebounds of seven behind Tricia Gill who claimed nine boards.
Tiffany Thorpe netted ten; Nakish Joseph contributed a total of nine points and there six each from Joseph-Hackett, Alanna King and Wanda Small.
Cavaliers had Winmalicia Bowen with 11 rebounds and Shakira Shorey six doing a fair job inside the semicircle but were unable to stop Atherley and company. Bowen, and Astrid Alleyne had 12 points each while Shorey tallied 10, as they were the only three players that managed double figures for Cavaliers.
Perhaps, if former national point guard Ria Phillips had been able to get going, it would have made a difference to Cavaliers’ score line as she only managed three points after occupying the court for 40 minutes of the 78 minutes long matchup.