Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Cavs nail Pinelands again


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Look who’s got the kryptonite for Pinelands’ super powers.
The only team to have beaten up on Smalta Pinelands just did it again, as Station Hill Cavaliers battled back from being down double digits to send one powerful message via Sunday’s 73-67 win in the Co-operators General Insurance Basketball Premier League at the Wildey Gym.
It marked the resounding end to a league-best ten-game winning streak for a high-powered Pine side that hadn’t lost since March against those same Cavs.
And history could very well repeat itself again, with the result dropping Pinelands into second place and a probable – and seemingly unwanted – first-round matchup with their tormentors.
Not that the teams needed to wait for the play-offs to resume what already has the making of a bitter rivalry.
With several hard fouls and even more trash talk, a seemingly meaningless contest played with the intensity of a Game 7 from as early as the opening tip when neither side refused to give an inch.
The potential postseason preview lived up to its big billing too, at least for the first 15 minutes where nothing separated the two rivals in terms of score or testiness.
Pinelands eventually struck first though, more specifically Jeremy Gill, who followed up a Daniel Lovell trey with one of his own and a drive as part of a 14-5 finish to the half (32-23) that also spilled over into the third quarter (44-33).
But it was Cavs from there once the “Business Man”, Kelvin Patterson, checked in the game for the first time and led one of the season’s most memorable rallies.
Taking on former teammate Junior Moore in a personal one-on-one duel, Patterson schooled his former understudy with a pair of nifty post moves before assisting on a Jason Smith triple and a Jamai Puckerin lay-up (44-43).
Station Hill weren’t done cashing in yet though, as Kevin Sealy scored off successive Gill turnovers while Patterson added a short jumper as the cap to a run of 20 unanswered points (53-44) spanning the third and fourth quarters.
Moore finally put an end to the drought, before Ramon Simmons’ subsequent lay-up and another Gill triple gave the look of an ensuing Pinelands rally.
However, they never made the contest a one-possession game, not even after Gill’s switched hands for a lefty lay-up in traffic to several oohs and aahs.
Patterson was just back at it again, finding a cutting Lamar Grazette on the baseline for an “and-one” lay-up, and then hitting a deft runner, before Kevin Sealy’s easy lay-up sealed the deal.
It was the rather dramatic finish to a back-and-forth contest that saw the two sides trade baskets right up to the midpoint of the second period.
The Pine appeared to have taken control from there though, holding Station Hill to just five points over the final five minutes of the half, before making life miserable in the paint in an extremely physical contest.
Gill baited Decino Corbin into fouling him behind the arc, then decided to put his head down and attack the ring at the start of the second half as Pinelands went ahead by as many as 11 points (44-33).
He finished with 23 points, nine rebounds, six assists and seven steals for the Pine, who dropped to a 12-2 record, while Grazette led Station Hill (12-4) with 13 points. Saeed Norville added 12 while Sealy and Patterson both scored ten.
Earlier, Joel Hunte had 15 points and Kelan Phillips added 14 as Combined Schools Tridents completed a season sweep of the demotion bound Challengers with an 83-61 victory.
Anand Joseph-Thorne chipped in with 13 points for the schoolboys’ second victory all season while Rudo Catlyn led Challengers with 12 points.


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