Monday, April 22, 2024

Cougars maul Sonics


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PROBLEMS? What problems?
Cougars surely don’t seem to have any right now, though the same can’t be said for Urban Vybz St John’s Sonics, after Tuesday’s humiliating 92-68 defeat in the Co-operators General Insurance Basketball Premier League at the Wildey Gym.
It’s the second win on the trot for a Cougars side thought to be reeling following a three-game skid that was compounded by two high-profiled resignations.
But Sonics are the perennial play-off contenders currently going in reverse, having dropped three of their last four contests amidst serious offensive struggles.
And those woes more than persisted as St John’s went a miserable 24 of 68 from the floor while committing 30 turnovers.
Nowhere were those struggles more evident than in a dreadful six-point third-quarter effort, where Sonics converted all of two buckets while Cougars turned a 49-44 contest into a 27-point laugher.
This was after St John’s had already battled back from two prior double digit deficits (29-19, 47-37), with Cougars threatening to turn every rebound and turnover into easy fast-break lay-ups.
Stefan Clarke briefly put an end to the romp though, starting with a wrap-around assist to Akeem Marsh and a nifty euro-step move before adding another lay-up and trey as part of an initial 10-2 surge.
Another Cougars’ rout loomed when Stewart had six quick points (47-37) until Sonics turned their opponents over to finish the half scoring seven unanswered points.
They wouldn’t score again for the next four minutes as Stewart opened the third quarter with two big treys to sandwich three lay-ups from Godfrey Leacock (61-48).
Ricardo Jemmott then got in on the act by way of a turnaround jumper in the post, then Stewart got out in transition for two more lay-ups with Sonics continually turning the rock over (77-50).
Marsh and Clarke temporarily stopped the slide with six straight points between them, only to watch Cougars rattle off nine more unanswered to lead by as many as 30 (86-56).
It was the surprisingly lopsided finish to a game St John’s started positively following opening treys from Kevin Mason and Shane Whittaker.
But that proved the extent of Sonics’ offence once Jemmott started to cause all sorts of problems at the other end by putting the ball on the floor to beat his defenders.
With Marsh getting into early foul trouble, St John’s just never found any type of rhythm, and the ensuing turnovers led to one basket after another for Stewart.
An initial 20-13 cushion quickly turned into a double-digit advantage after Jemmott and Stevenson Callender started the second quarter with easy buckets.
Stewart and Jemmott both finished with 23 points while Leacock added 16 for Cougars, who improved to a 4-4 record. Marsh and Clarke led Sonics (3-4) with 18 and 17 points, respectively.
Earlier, Junior Moore led five players in double digits with 17 points and 14 rebounds as Smalta Pinelands ended the first round by moving into the league lead following an 82-54 rout of Combined Schools Tridents.
Jeremy Gill scored 14, Kevin Andrews had 13, while Halley Franklyn and Charles Vanderpool added 12 and ten respectively, for the Pine, who improved to 7-1.
Orion Seale had the top score of nine for the cellar-dwelling schoolboys (1-7).


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