Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Lakers lament break in finals


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JUST WHEN LAKERS figured they had got their big break, they have found themselves faced with an even bigger one.
Local basketball fans aren’t the only ones bemoaning the 11-day hiatus of these finals, as head coach Francis Williams believes his Lumber Company Lakers have lost all the momentum after battling back to save their chances for another Premier League title.
Williams was speaking against the background of the five-game title series against rivals Warrens, which was suspended for more than a week due to opposing centre Pearson Griffith’s departure with the national junior team.
“I’m not pleased, not in the least,” said Williams, whose Lakers won’t take the court again until Saturday after last playing on Tuesday.
“I understand why it has to be done but this could’ve all been avoided with better planning. The association wasted too much time early in the season and had too many breaks in the competition.
“We started with that silly knockout format and then unnecessarily trying to get Intermediate teams in the [Wildey] Gym and now we’re scrambling to finish a season,” he added.
Just like how the champs are scrambling to get back in this series.
Expected to be the cap of Lakers’ fourth title, the finals took an unexpected twist after George Farrell’s stunning Game 1 buzzer-beater and a following Game 2 heartbreaker that left the defending champs facing a 2-0 and an unlikely sweep.
And this is against a rival team that has had its share of playoff woes versus Lakers, having been knocked out of the last two postseasons by their St Michael neighbours.
But the champs rebounded with a huge 80-55 blowout in Game 3, spurred by star guard Andre Lockhart, outscoring 54-29 in the second half to keep their season and title hopes alive.
Now they’ll have to worry their muscles aren’t in danger of atrophy.
“Don’t get me wrong, this affects both teams, but we prefer to be using that momentum from Game 3 right about now,” Williams remarked.
“We’ve lost all our rhythm and we have to start anew, but I guess it’s something we have to deal with, even though it’s not ideal.
“All we can do now is get back on the court, practise and keep some level of conditioning. We’re not even sure what or when we’re preparing for because there is no certainty surrounding next weekend, the whole King of the Ring setback,” he added.
Griffith, a six-foot-ten national centre, is currently in El Salvador coaching a junior boys’ team at the Under-16 Centrobasket tournament.
A similar decision was taken by the Barbados Amateur Basketball Association last week when the first-round women’s series between Combined Schools Hoopsters and Mpact Station Hill Cavaliers was postponed due to the absence of Hoopsters coach Cosmo Edwards and three of his players through national duty.


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