Saturday, April 20, 2024

Powerhouse Pine get scare from Warrens

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Manuel Alleng gave the Pine quite the scare.

The Pan American International Insurance Warrens swingman scored 20 points against his old team before Orange 3 Pinelands used a late 11-3 run to pull out Wednesday’s 77-68 win in the Co-operators General Insurance Basketball Premier League at the Wildey Gym.

The score was a surprisingly close one for an unbeaten Pine squad that featured no fewer than five Barbados players and two other national level type talents.

And they sure looked like clear title favourites after going up by as many as 19 points (43-24) following one second-quarter explosion.

But they never had an answer for Alleng, particularly early in the fourth, where the oft-overlooked guard drilled three straight jumpers to pull Warrens within five (58-53).

Junior Moore initially stemmed the tide though, scoring two baskets in the paint that sandwiched a Zahir Motara floater to restore Pinelands’ double-digit cushion (64-53).

Yet Warrens refused to go away, as Pearson Griffith answered with a layup following baskets from Andre Pierre and Dario Cumberbatch that cut the score to 66-60.

However, they never got any closer once Ramon Simmons put an end to that rally with a layup and two free throws.

Derion Hurley followed quickly with successive fast-break layups before Motara slammed the door shut with a pull-up triple in transition (77-63).

Motara had his hands all over Pinelands’ stirring second-quarter surge too, coming off the bench to lead one fast and furious 21-6 run.

Pushing the ball in transition, Motara found Simmons and Corey Nurse for easy layups before calling his own number on a floater and ensuing trey.

Simmons then went the length of the floor for a coast-to-coast layup and Hurley tacked on a quick-fire trey to cap the run.

What started as a mere 22-18 lead quickly became a 43-24 before Warrens even realised what hit them.

But Griffith got to work in the post on the other side of the half-time break, taking his smaller defenders to task with a series of short hooks and drop-steps as part of a 22-11 response (54-46).

Alleng then got back in on the action with those three straight jumpers, including a big three-pointer from the top of the key that threatened Pinelands’ advantage.

Simmons led Pinelands with 19 points and Moore had 18, while Charles Vanderpool chipped in with 11 points and 12 rebounds.

Griffith finished with 19 points and 15 boards for Warrens.

In the night cap, John Jones had 32 points and 16 rebounds to lead defending champions Lumber Company Lakers to a comfortable 79-61 victory over Burger King Clapham Bulls.

Keefe Birkett added 11 points and nine boards and Ormond Haynes also scored 11, while Kelan Phillips led Clapham with 12 points before leaving the game with an untimely ankle injury.

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