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Simmons ends Pine slump


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SO MUCH FOR Ramon Simmons’ slump and any hopes Pinelands might fall into one.The national swingman had a Premier League basketball season high 28 points and added a game-saving block for good measure, as the Pine rebounded from Thursday’s loss to the Cavs by downing plummeting Nicholls Baking Cougars 77-71 on Saturday at the YMCA.It was his second straight game shooting at least 50 per cent from the field after starting the season missing 48 of his first 64 shot attempts while going a woeful 31 of 113 in six previous contests.However, the skills that made Simmons a national player three years ago were definitely on show in three separate outbursts which kept Pinelands from slumping to their first two-game losing streak on the season.The first came as a nine-point second quarter effort in a high-scoring duel against Godfrey Leacock, reducing Cougars’ early 29-19 advantage to a mere one-point lead (32-31) by the half-time break.But if Simmons was matched shot-for-shot in that period, he certainly had no equal in the ensuing third while erupting for 12 points, as Pinelands led by as many as ten points (53-43) late in the quarter.At one point the athletic swingman accounted for eight straight Pine points, singlehandedly thwarting the efforts of Leacock, Ricardo Jemmott and Antonio Yearwood by hitting a pair of three-pointers that sandwiched two lay-us.However, Yearwood threatened early in the fourth, scoring on an “and-one” play on drive to the hoop before spinning in the lane and handing-off for a dunking Jemmott to pull Cougars within five (60-55).Steve Sealy ended that rally with a timely triple though, before Simmons added five quick points and a crucial chase-down block of a certain Leacock transition lay-up to secure the final decision.Charles Vanderpool assisted Simmons with 12 points and 12 rebounds while Jemmott top-scored for Cougars with 17 points and 13 boards.Earlier, Alwyn Lovell scored ten of his season high 20 points in the third quarter before sitting out the fourth, as lowly Colombian Emeralds International Senators got their second win of the season in an 82-65 thrashing of the short-handed Sagicor Tridents.