Sunday, April 21, 2024

Goon Squad take charge


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THEY MAY GO by a different name now but you can still call Ace of Diamonds champs.
Make that two in a row for Jeremy Gill and company after a renamed Goon Squad led by as many as 24 points enroute to a routine 85-72 victory over Garrison Chargers in Saturday’s title game of the St Michael South Basketball Championships at Paddock Road.
It was the rather disappointing finish to an otherwise enthralling tournament that played witness to a pair of last-second finishes in the semi-final round just two nights earlier.
But Goon Squad wouldn’t need another set of heroics, or even Gill, who sat out almost all of the third quarter while dealing with pain brought on from a scary fall in the previous period.
And the champs already had as much as a 16-point lead (34-18) early on in that second quarter after Rahiim Gibbons and Charles Vanderpool sparked a 19-7 run that spanned the first and second periods.
Chargers managed to make it interesting though, with Junior Clarke scoring four points in succession immediately off the bench as part of a surge that turned the game into a 38-31 contest mere moments before the break.
The game then threatened to take a further turn for the worse when Gill landed awkwardly on his tailbone after being fouled while going for a lefty layup in transition.
However, Rico Thorpe hit a huge trey and Gibbons – the finals MVP – sank a pair of free throws to put Goon Squad back up 43-31 before the champs rattled off six points unanswered to open the second half.
Goon Squad weren’t done there though, having blown open a 71-47 lead following a series of lay-ups in transition from Vanderpool and Junior Moore in all one-way traffic. Gill even returned to add a triple for good measure and Kevin Austin added one of his own to put what seemed to be the finishing touches on the game.
But Chargers still threatened thereafter, taking advantage of the ensuing absence of Gill, Vanderpool, Moore and Austin by going on a menacing 23-8 run to pull within eight (78-70) in the dying moments.
It proved too little too late once Gill returned to score off an inbounds play right before Adrian Allman sealed the deal with a back-breaking trey just seconds later.
Gibbons finished with 17 points, Gill added 16 while Vanderpool and Austin both chipped in with 13. Nicholas King led Garrison with 16 points, Ron Grant had 14 and Tito Alexander scored ten.


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