Barbados Hilton Resort Warriors laid claim to their maiden Barbados Amateur Basketball Association Second Division Knockout title when they trounced VR Carrington Construction Challengers 76-67 last night at the Wildey Gymnasium.
Talented point guard and captain of Warriors Nicholas King registered a game-high 24 points, 16 of which were scored in the first quarter for the Frederick Bynoe-coached Warriors team. They were dominant 26-16, 44-32 and 67-49 in the first three stanzas.
Challengers who won the first division knockout title a couple weeks ago seemed out of their depth against a strong Warriors team that had a father [Richard Bennett] and son Rasheed Harte combination playing extremely well. Bennett at age 57 looked impressive and contributed 12-points while his offspring Harte [24-years-old] and former national player Corey McDonald accounted for 11 points each.
Warriors are also the reigning division two league champions and coach Bynoe said after winning the knockout trophy that his team had their eyes set on completing the division two double and intended to do so without losing any games. He also said that last night’s result against Challengers was expected and he was not surprised at the final scoreline.
“Challengers team is known for big players and a couple of players to me that just like to shoot the ball. But tonight after we went up by twenty they did something a little different which they started to carry the ball to the basket. And the reason for me why the game was that close is because my main big man did not really turn up [Tito Alexander]. He, to me, was just going through the motions and then I had another young fellow [Shaquille Bynoe] that plays big but he got his knee hurt in the semifinal, so he did not play at all tonight.
“We stuck to our game. As you know we have experienced players and we bring in a few young players to do some running and to give the older players a little time to get some rest in between so that is what we plan to do and have been doing throughout the whole season,” Bynoe said.
Challengers’ top scorers were Adrian Fowler with 19 points and Ramon Ward contributed 15 but despite the effort from those two, it was not enough to stop Warriors from lifting the title.
Warriors gave themselves a comfortable 12-point cushion [44-32] at halftime having capitalised on a number of fast-break opportunities that Challengers failed to defend. Challengers made a few bad turnovers and fouled unnecessarily which gave Warriors significant impetus.
Challengers were first to score through Claude Allsop when the penultimate quarter began but Warriors continued the same scoring intensity as the first half. Tito Alexander with the basket and one followed by a two-point jumper, scored five straight points which carried the total to 51-36 and allowed Warriors to run away with the game.
Challengers failed to rebound, unlike Warriors who caught everything that they got their hands to with several fast breaks resulting for Nicholas King and Allsop who did a great job attacking the key. Another one of Challengers’ downfalls was that they afforded King too much breathing room to shoot, a grave mistake considering his ability to find the bottom of the nets.
In an effort to get some points on the board Challengers tried to keep Ramon Ward in the backcourt for the long passes which worked well at times but because Warriors have several sharpshooters they continued to put the ball inside the hoop.
Challengers needed to pull something special out the hat for a chance to stay in the game considering they entered the decisive fourth quarter with an 18-point deficit.
Challengers’ coach Rene Batson expressed disappointment that his players were unable to at least put up greater resistance against Warriors.
“The final against Warriors was a bitter pill to swallow. We know we couldn’t go on the court and blow them out per se, but for the most part we did what we had to do. We stopped them from scoring, especially in the second half but then we were outrebounded badly and I think that is where we lost the game right there. We just couldn’t secure the rebounds, we stopped them from scoring on the first, sometimes the second attempt and after a while, it took its toll on us.
“…We put together a strong team, a very competitive team, I know we had the players and the tools to do it, unfortunately, we just couldn’t get it together on the night and that was our downfall. Of course, I am disappointed, players are disappointed, fans are disappointed but we made a good run of it when we finally got it together but it was too late,” Batson said.