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Cavs leapfrog into second spot


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by Justin MarvilleTHEY MAY SHARE Cleveland’s name but these Cavaliers’ title hopes are definitely  still aliveCorey Williams and Kevin Sealy combined to score all but two of Mpact Station Hill Cavalier’s baskets in overtime as Premier League basketball’s reigning double-crowned champs survived a 29-point outing from Corey McDonald before outlasting First Works Warriors  in Sunday’s  86-81 thriller  at the YMCA.Just days  after their NBA counterparts  were knocked  out of the  post-season, the resurgent Cavs improved their standing in the tight play-off race  by winning a fifth straight game  to leapfrog both Warriors and an idle Pinelands  for second place.But the possibility of recovering to a 7-2 mark looked highly unlikely when Station Hill lost their season opener to the lowly Cougars, while dropping two of the first four contests of the year.And they very nearly dropped  a third after squandering an  11-point third-quarter lead (52-41) that came on the heels of Williams’ brief spurt from behind the arc.Those efforts, and the subsequent lead, were all laid  to waste, as the torrid McDonald found perfect foils in Andre Pierre and Kirk Shaw to cut the deficit to one (61-60) early in the fourth.That initial rally was cut short following four successive points from Kelvin Patterson, before rookie swingman Darren Hunte added a pair of backdoor lay-ups that sandwiched a Junior Moore jumper, to restore a Cavs’ 74-67 cushion with 1:45 remaining.But Warriors weren’t done just yet, as Kevin John rattled  off 11 of their last 14 points,  prior to McDonald’s dramatic game-tying three-pointer,  that locked the scores at 74  in the dying moments.Station Hill still had one last chance to win outright in regulation, but McDonald’s stifling defence on an over-dribbling Patterson prevented them from even getting off a last-second shot.However, what the Cavs couldn’t do in the last 20 seconds of regulation, they did in the first  30 of overtime.Before Warriors could even settle, the champs had four quick points to start the extra period, behind a pair of well-executed backdoor cuts in succession from Patterson and Sealy.Seasoned veteran Andrew Alleyne then increased the lead  via a subsequent basket and Williams punched the seams of Warriors defence for a driving lay-up to give Station Hill  a comfortable 82-76 inside  the final minute.However, Warriors were  nearly given another reprieve after McDonald goaded  opposite number Jason Smith  into fouling him on an ensuing three-point attempt.But the former MVP missed  two of the subsequent free throw attempts, while Sealy scored  an uncontested basket to provide the final margin. Patterson finished with  a double-double of 18 points and ten boards, Williams scored  14 and Alleyne netted 11. For Warriors, Pierre and John had  15 and 14 points, respectively, while Shaw scored 12.The night’s second game between Act II Popcorn Clapham Bulls and Roll-A-Way St John’s Sonics was postponed after rain interrupted the team’s warm-up before tip-off.

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