Saturday, April 20, 2024

Pine blow away Sonics


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Heading into Sunday night’s Premier League basketball clash between Urban Vybz St John Sonics and Pinelands, two things were likely to happen.
Sonics could run out of luck or Pinelands would eventually prove themselves serious title contenders.
Both materialized.
Led by a game-high 29 points from Jeremy “Bull” Gill, Pinelands all but cemented their place in the post-season with a commanding 80-61 victory over Sonics at the YMCA.
The result was not unexpected after Sonics, who dropped to 9-3, had escaped with narrow victories over lowly Challengers and Warrens Sports Club in unflattering performances in their two previous games.
After losses to three of the league’s top teams (Cougars, Lakers and Sonics) in the opening round, a victory for Pinelands (8-3) was of vast importance, not only in securing a play-off berth, but also to prove their status as being among the league’s elite teams.
And they did just that in the fourth quarter, transforming an early 58-50 lead into a 15-point rout (70-55) halfway through the final period.
In another vintage Gill performance, the national player was virtually unstoppable as he drove to the basket at will, while providing his teammates with wide open looks.
During a two-minute span stretching from the end of the third quarter to the beginning of the fourth, Gill scored 11 straight points to help Pinelands recover from a four-point deficit (46-42).
He began with two successive uncontested layups, before scoring one of two free throws after he was fouled on another one of his drives to the bucket.
With three seconds on the clock before the end of the third quarter, Gill received an inbound pass from Charles Vanderpool and in one flowing motion, turned and hoisted a long three-pointer just as the buzzer sounded which drew nothing but net.
He began the final period in the same vein, knocking down another three-pointer from distance to push the score to 61-50, before baskets by Rico Thorpe and Vanderpool helped extend Pinelands’ lead.
Vanderpool, who ended with ten points and ten rebounds, also produced a stellar defensive performance to help limit Sonics’ leading scorer Akeem Marsh to 11 points, including just two in the second half.
Ramon Simmons, who had torched his opponents for 38 points in the first round, was also a no-show, scoring just one of six three-point attempts on his way to finishing with 11 points.
In the night’s first game, Clapham staved off relegation for at least one more game with a hard fought 64-55 win over Warriors.


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