Sunday, March 3, 2024

Earth puts Sonics over the moon


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It was seven years in coming but Premier League basketball’s underachievers are now over the moon.
Rommel “Earth” Garnes had a career-best 29 points in a knockout finals performance of the ages to lead Urban Vybz St John’s Sonics to their first ever top flight title in Saturday’s lopsided 94-82 rout of Station Hill Cavaliers at the Barbados Community College.
The championship-winning effort was the big sigh of relief for a squad that has promised so much yet delivered so little after never previously advancing to a final in their seven seasons in the Premier League.
But St John’s weren’t the ones who looked like they had stage fright while jumping out to a quick 25-15 that soon turned into a 22-point whipping following Garnes’ heroics.
“It feels great,” said Akeem Marsh of the victory after pouring in 17 points. “We deserved it because we worked so hard all offseason and all during the year too. Things sometimes just don’t work out but we knew we could win it once we came hard.”
Everything, though, seemed to work out just fine for Garnes, who clearly could do no wrong while exploding for 15 third quarter points as part of Sonics’ decisive 24-7 run in that period.
It was almost as if the unheralded guard was everywhere on the floor after breaking up passes and still filling the lane for fast-break buckets or hitting long jumpers following his own defensive rebounds.
And he didn’t do all of his damage in transition either as Garnes routinely attacked each hapless Cavaliers defender off the dribble for a series of twisting drives and awkward finishes at the ring.
At one point he scored all but two of St John’s 15 points in a three-minute stretch where Sonics turned a close 50-45 contest into a defining 74-52 blowout.
This was after St John’s had already built a 42-30 cushion on the back of a pair of jump hooks and a face-up jumper from Marsh in the post against the smaller Kelvin Patterson.
But Station Hill still managed to rally, pulling within nine at the half on a Jason Smith triple before baskets in the paint from Patterson reduced the deficit to just five (50-45).
However, the Cavs never got any closer the rest of the way after refusing to keep St John’s out of their favoured transition game, and failing to find an answer for Garnes.
Marsh even added a trey for good measure and Ramon Simmons scored a layup to push the lead to 80-57 before Station Hill used full court pressure to make the final scoreline look respectable.
The Cavs’ initial half court was anything but in the first ten minutes though as Simmons hit three uncontested triples before Garnes added another in Sonics’ early 17-10 advantage.
Shane Whittaker then came off the bench for one of his own, and Marsh quickly shook off some early struggles to put Sonics ahead 31-20.
But Gibbons went to the bench for a quick rest, and St John’s offence fell apart without their floor general, allowing Station Hill to rally via a 10-2 run. Garnes, though, ended the surge with a timely and-one drive before Marsh scored six straight points to reopen a 12-point cushion.
Simmons and Stefan Clarke chipped in with 17 and 12 points respectively while Patterson led the Cavs with 16.


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