Tuesday, April 16, 2024

SJPP and BCC to settle title


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BASKETBALL’S UNDERACHIEVERS have come up short yet again.
Dreadfully so.
They haven’t lived up to expectations and now “Cawmere” will not reach the title game either, having squandered a season-high 37 points from Jimal Singh in yesterday’s heartbreaking 78-71 loss to Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic (SJPP)?in the United Insurance Schools’ Basketball semi-finals at Clapham, St Michael.
It’s the first finals appearance in three years for Polytechnic, who advanced to tomorrow’s title game against a champion Barbados Community College (BCC) side that routed Harrison College 55-32 in the opening contest.
But while BCC held up their end of the bargain, Combermere couldn’t even set up a finals rematch despite starting the year as heavy favourites by returning most of last year’s talented roster.
Ashley Smith clearly didn’t hold them in such high regard, though, scoring ten of his 32 points in the fourth quarter.
This was after Cawmere twice battled from significant deficits – the last a 14-point hole (60-46) with less than nine minutes remaining.
Singh, however, came up just as big in the fourth quarter, erupting for 17 points in seven minutes of a series of fast-break lay-ups and a long jumper that made the contest a two-possession game (73-69) with 2:03 to play.
But he and Jamario Clarke missed two lay-ups  before Nicholas Rouse made them pay for the costly gaffes with an uncontested basket and a thunderous dunk.
It was the thrilling finish to a game that looked unlikely to be such when Smith had 12 first-quarter points while SJPP had 11 of the game’s first 16 points.
Cawmere went on a run of their own, with Singh and Clarke leading a transition attack that accounted for all of their team’s points in a 16-6 second-quarter rally that put them ahead 32-22.
However, Polytechnic swingman Tyoka Young hit three third-quarter treys in an 11-point explosion that spurred a 28-12 run and a 58-46 advantage.
Young finished with 12 points, Denzil Bovell added 14 and Rouse chipped in with ten. Clarke was the only other double-digit scorer for Combermere with 23.
Earlier, reigning eight-time kings BCC held Harrison College to just two first-quarter points, and eight over the first 20 minutes before surviving a telling third-quarter rally for a 55-32 blowout.
The defending champs led by as many as 18 (26-8) in the first half after scoring 18 of the game’s first 20 points while holding “Kolij” to a mere Anand Joseph-Thorne field goal in the first quarter.
Harrison College made a game of it in the third, reducing the deficit to single digits (33-24) at one stage following a run of nine points from Joseph-Thorne.
But it wasn’t enough once Lamar Grazette answered with successive mid-range jumpers to reopen a double-digit advantage, which ballooned to 20 when Harrison College went the first five minutes of the fourth quarter without a field goal.
Grazette finished with ten points while Jaré Alleyne led BCC with 13 points and Stephan Ottley added 12. Runako Boyce had a team-high 12 points for Harrison College and Joseph-Thorne scored 11.
The final is slated for 4 p.m. at the University of the West Indies following the conclusion of the Division Two final between Ellerslie and The Lester Vaughan School.


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