So far, so good.
Reigning four-time knockout champs Station Hill Cavaliers seem certain of advancing to the next round of basketball’s President’s Cup after routing Church Village Spartans 90-53 last night in the first game of their opening-round fixture at the Wildey Gym.
The result means Spartans will have to defeat the Cavs by more than 37 points in their second leg encounter if they are to advance.
It was never a contest at any stage as Station Hill immediately took advantage of a Spartans side playing without Theo Greenidge and Dale Franklyn by scoring 16 of the game’s first points.
Jason Smith and Stephan Ottley got the rout going early, scoring back to back treys before Church Village could even get on the scoreboard.
Spartans did manage to get within single digits (16-7) once thereafter, when the Cavs struggled to defend a basic pick and roll between Elihu Diaz and Philip Harewood.
And Church Village big man Ryan Maycock posed problems in the paint for a smaller Cavs team resting forward/centre Jamai Puckerin.
But Station Hill adjusted quickly by collapsing the paint and getting in transition off those subsequent turnovers.
Spartans’ atrocious half court defense didn’t help matters, as it surrendered one layup after another on a series of secondary cuts.
As a result the Cavs stretched a 24-10 lead to 20 points (48-28) before Diaz and reserve guard Blake Foster drilled three triples between them to keep things interesting.
However, Station Hill literally ran Spartans right off the court in transition as Deveron Knight had six successive points in the open court including a one-handed throw-down and an alley-oop off the glass from Saeed Norville.
For the Cavs Corey Howard top-scored with 19 points and Knight finished with 18.
Diaz led Spartans with 16 points.
Earlier, defending league champs Burger King Clapham Bulls closed out the first quarter with a 23-0 surge en route to an easy 87-58 victory over Barbados Hilton Warriors in their opening-round matchup.
Trailing 11-10 midway through the first, Clapham blew the game wide open by scoring 23 unanswered points as part of a whirlwind 40-17 first half run (50-28).
It was the eighth straight win across all competitions for an unbeaten Clapham side, who had a similar start to last season while winning the league and reaching the KO final.
The Bulls were led by Romaine Lovell who had 18 points and 11 rebounds, Tehron King scored 15 points off the bench and Kelan Phillips added 14 points.
Kevin Carter led the winless and undermanned Warriors with 21 points and 12 boards while Danny Hurley was the only other player in double digits with 11 points.