Saturday, March 2, 2024

Cavs gain as Pine collapse


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BASKETBALL might’ve started an hour late on Saturday, but Pinelands have yet to show up.
Darren Hunte had 12 of his 17 points during Mpact Station Hill Cavaliers’ decisive third-quarter run before yet another of the Pine’s late-game meltdowns kept their winless Premier League season intact, following a listless 88-75 defeat at the Wildey Gym.
The loss was Pinelands’ second in as many games, marking the first time they’ve started 0-2 since being demoted from top-flight basketball at the end of the 2007 season.
At least the manner of defeat proved nothing new.
Twice Pinelands sabotaged their own fourth-quarter rallies, picking up needless technicals every time they barely managed to get within single digits.
This after Hunte literally tried to run away with the contest in the previous third by continually beating his slow-footed Pine counterparts for quick baskets in transition.
It didn’t help Pinelands’ cause any that they were kept to one shot and out at the other end, with Junior Moore cleaning the defensive glass to spur a 24-15 run that put the Cavs ahead 64-53.
But point guard Steve Sealy opened the ensuing fourth with five quick points, only to get blown for a silly technical after the referee wrongly whistled him for a shooting foul on Stefan Yarde.
So what was a small 67-58 cushion became a significant 72-58 margin in a matter of seconds, as Yarde sank three of four free throws before Kevin Sealy scored an easy layup off the ensuing inbounds pass.
However, the threat wasn’t done just yet – far from.
The Pine rallied once again, more menacingly this time, as Charles Vanderpool responded with an and-one play and a huge dunk to sandwich layups from Daniel Lovell and Ramon Simmons and pull Pinelands within six (76-70).
Yarde answered with a pair of free throws, though, and Gary Miller ensured the run was done after inanely picking up a technical for arguing a jump-ball when the Cavs had just two seconds left in possession.
Moore ended with 15 points and 11 rebounds for the unbeaten Cavs (2-0), while Jamai Puckerin added 12 points as the resulting 12-5 finish put the contest out of reach. Vanderpool led Pinelands with 24 points, Simmons scored 18 and Lovell finished with 13.
Earlier, Nicholls Baking Company Cougars broke open a close contest by scoring the first 11 points of the first quarter to continue their unbeaten start to the season with an 84-72 win over Clapham Bulls.
The loss dropped last season’s losing league finalists to 0-2 after Clapham were seemingly in the contest when they ended the third trailing 62-60.
Godfrey Leacock led Cougars with 23 points, Adrian Stewart added 19 while Shawn Gaskin had 15 points and 14 rebounds. For Clapham, Sean Parris had 18 points and 15 rebounds.
In the day’s first game, First Works Warriors picked up their second win to remain undefeated, but not without a scare as they had to overcome a resilient Co-operators General Tridents for a 70-66 victory.


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