Mission accomplished for Gatorade Pinelands Future, new kings of the Second Annual Next Generation Basketball Under-23 tournament, as they successfully dethroned Mr. H Invest Station Hill Cavaliers 67-55 last night at the Warrens hardcourt in Jackson.
Captain by Final’s Most Valuable Player (MVP), Derion Hurley, Pinelands were runners-up last year to Cavaliers, therefore the much talked about rematch created quite the buzz when the championship match tip-off around 7:30pm yesterday.
The opening stanza was tied 11-11 but victorious coach Charles Vanderpool and his capable team of assistants that included Pinelands Senior Men’s Captain, Jeremy Gill along with Junior Moore were able to Marshall their younger troops, and build momentum to dominate 33-27 and 50-37 in the second and third quarter respectively.
Pinelands point guard, Hurley had the second highest individual score of 18 behind a game high 28 points from power forward, Zachary Cave of the opposing team.
Speaking after the game, Hurley explained that it wasn’t just about revenge but a thirst to win in the face of adversity that has deservingly ensured Pinelands lift the trophy undefeated.
He also gives credit to an abundance of talent at Pinelands basketball club, saying despite the tribulations many individuals on the team has gone through, they still continue to fight.
“It is more than just joy… We have been through a lot of pain especially losing our coach [Ryan Maynard]. And this wasn’t just revenge for us, this victory was so meaningful, I can’t even find words right now,” Hurley said.
Adding,”every individual here has been through something and we have past it and together we just prevailed”.
Hurley was listed among five outstanding players from this years’ competition along with tournament MVP, Deveron Knight, Rasheed Maynard of Pinelands, Andrew Ifill of Burger King Bulls and Justin Pile of Bajan 246 President Garrett’s XI.
The other scorers for Pinelands dressed in their traditional orange were Maynard tallying 17 and Kiserian Adams 16, as they were the only two aside from Hurley to reach double figures. Rachad Hall total six, Deroni Hurley, Derion’s younger brother had five along with two points from Karlos Greenidge and one by Tehron King, as they both eventually fouled out in the fourth and decisive period.
To find the backboard proved to be a struggle for Cavaliers coach by Stephan Ottley. Aside from Cave, the next best score was seven by point-guard Anand Joseph- Thorne who showed signs of being tired throughout the match. The other single digit contributors for Cavaliers were Knight tabulating six, Roderick Massiah five, Jonithan Fowler four and two each from Runako Boyce and Romario Hutson.
Anytime Cavaliers and Pinelands face off on court, the competition is always fierce, and it is something that has trickle down through generations. Therefore, it was no surprise when there were heated moments especially in the final quarter when Pinelands forward King and Cave became physical and had to be parted. In the process Vanderpool received a technical for going onto the court.
Once the dust had settled, Cavaliers found some much needed momentum during the fourth quarter as they manage to reduce a 20-point deficit (58-38) to 12 (61-49) but just when things were looking promising the boys wearing green suffered two major unwanted blows.
The first was their star player of the tournament Knight being ejected from the game after two unsportsmanlike fouls on Maynard and King. That was followed by the departure of Cave with five personal fouls to his name with just a minute (1:05) left to play.
With those two gone, Cavaliers’ faith was basically sealed with no means of return as Pinelands and their dedicated supporters huddled in a circle and began to chant in celebration.
In the third place match, President Garrett’s XI won 13-6, 21-17, 41-36 and 55-45 against Burger King Bulls. Scoring for the winners were Justin Pile 15, Theo Greenidge 11 and ten from Khamal Boyce. For Bulls Brandon Hope had 13 and Andrew Ifill 12.