“ON THE BALL: Puzzling why Warrens Petered out”

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In this week’s edition of On The Ball, NATION basketball writer Justin Marville reviews last week’s round of games in the Co-operators General Insurance Premier League.

I TRY NOT TO make it my business to question coaching calls (at least not publicly), but that sure was one odd decision not to play Peter Alleyne in the fourth.

Unless, of course, it was never coach Ianthum Alleyne’s decision to make.

I mean I was all for bringing up the veteran guard from First Division in the first place, what with Warrens suffering with unreliable playmaking while missing the suspended Pearson Griffith in a very winnable game against the Jeremy Gill-less Pinelands.

The plan appeared to be working too, as Warrens entered the fourth quarter with all the momentum after Alleyne helped the side lock the scores at 40 to end of the third.

But lo and behold, the former multi-winning MVP never returned, and neither did a Warrens lead after the team looked more out of sorts than a shark-dressed dancer at a Super Bowl half-time show.

So what was the purpose of bringing Alleyne if it wasn’t to guarantee victory?

And right now that has to be priority No.1 for a team that’s yet to win and still has two fixtures remaining against the likes of Station Hill and Lakers each.

This was just too baffling – and on so many levels – to make any sense, especially considering Warrens’ tenuous position in the table and the more than obvious need for Alleyne’s ball-handling and playmaking skills.

But hey, I’m not employed to make the tough decisions in Warrens, though I’m not sure if anyone is.

• Remember those days when Station Hill deployed one massive frontline of Andrew Alleyne, Kelvin Patterson and Junior Moore?

Boy, are those days long gone for Gang Green.

Sure they may start with “bigs” Jamai Puckerin and Lamar Grazette up front, but inevitably the Cavs will go small with four guards around Puckerin, or leave out a traditional post player altogether for a five-guard line-up.

Maybe it’s out of necessity considering Puckerin and Grazette are the only two “bigs” on the roster in the absence of Jamario Clarke, yet credit still must be given to coach Adrian Craigwell for bringing a breath of fresh air to basketball with those “small ball” groups.

He isn’t the only one, or even the first to throw out such units on the floor as Bulls, Sonics, Lakers, Warriors and Warrens have all used similar personnel groupings at one point.

And yet none of them would dare go on the court without a traditional big man like how the Cavs have over the last two seasons while quickening up the tempo, forcing steals and getting out in transition with a myriad of long-armed guards.

You’d think more teams would opt for such “small-ball” line-ups, too, at least those with one post player, considering the changing nature of today’s game that stresses floor spacing.

Well, that and the fact there aren’t many good big men now anyway.

• On the flip side though, it sure doesn’t look good when those smaller line-ups aren’t punished on the other end by national forwards.

The record will say he had a good all-round game with 17 points, 16 rebounds, eight assists and four blocks, but Charles Vanderpool has got to be kidding when he allows Darren Hunte, Saeed Norville and Corey Howard to force him into missing nine of his 14 shots from the floor.

To be fair, Station Hill did a lot of pressing and trapping, resulting in Vanderpool being used as a release valve in the middle of the court and then at the free throw line due to his lengthy six-foot-seven frame.

But far too often either the Pine “big” or the coaching staff let Station Hill off the hook by refusing to have him drop into the low blocks pound those smaller defenders in the paint.

And yet that was times better than his showing against Lakers, as Ormond Haynes (generously listed at six-foot-one) harassed Vanderpool into a two of 15 shooting performance despite giving up at least six inches in the matchup.

Well, let’s just hope dear Charlie can get these post struggles worked out, and shortly too.

Because if these woes are happening against shorter players, then just imagine what may happen when the height advantage favours the opposition in Tortola during the summer.