Thursday, April 25, 2024

Senators derail Pinelands play-off push


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THEY’RE ALMOST eliminated from basketball’s Premier League postseason race.But don’t expect any favours from these Colombian Emeralds International Senators.Pinelands’ play-off push experienced an unexpected hitch on Thursday, after their Rockley-based counterparts led by as many as 12 points in the second half before surviving a late rally to pull off a stunning 59-57 upset at the Wildey Gymnasium.The loss dropped the Pine into a third-place tie with Warriors on an identical 9-3 record, just one game ahead of the fast-closing Jackson, and it kept St John’s Sonics (6-6) and even Senators’ slim (4-7) postseason hopes alive.It was all the result of a game-changing 13-4 run in the third quarter, where Senators’ “small ball” line-up created as much confusion for Pinelands as they did points in the open floor.Alwyn Lovell forced three turnovers, all leading to Nicholas King’s transition baskets following open court lay-ups from Anthony Forde and George Farrell that ballooned them ahead 47-35 with 5:21 remaining in the period.But their subsequent return to a more traditional line-up was quickly greeted with six successive Pinelands points, coming as part of a 10-2 rally to close the quarter that pulled Pinelands within four (49-45).However, they never took the lead despite Senators’ best efforts to throw away the contest, wasting several chances inside the final two minutes after getting as close as one point (56-55).In the night’s second game, Keefe Birkett had 18 points and Adrian Allman chipped in with 15, as the league leading Lumber Company Lakers led from start to finish in a 80-58 rout of the lowly Nicholls Baking Cougars. (JM)


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