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Jackson, Pinelands play-off battle


Justin Marville

Jackson, Pinelands play-off battle

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PREMIER LEAGUE BASKETBALL’S final play-off spot comes down to its final regular season game.Javid Beckles had 19 points and 11 rebounds as British American Insurance Jackson set up a virtual one-game quarter-final against Pinelands in their season finale after holding off Colombian Emeralds International Senators 71-68 at the Wildey Gym on Tuesday.The dramatic victory, followed by Pine’s loss to the league-leading Lakers later that night, left both clubs tied in fourth place with an identical 10-5 record for that last post-season berth with just next week’s game between the two remaining.Jackson led by as many as 20 points (54-34) midway through the third quarter, but Senators scored 17 unanswered points before eventually locking the scores at 63 late in the fourth.Anthony Forde wasted an opportunity for Senators to take the lead on a blown lay-up, only to see Beckles answer with six quick points as part of an 8-0 Jackson run that seemingly decided the contest.However, two successive turnovers led to George Farrell scoring five straight points,before a third transgression gave Senators one last possession to force overtime, but Brian Yarde’s potential game-tying trey fell perilously short at the final buzzer.Kevin Austin and Pearson Griffith assisted Beckles with 17 and 16 points respectively, while Farrell led all scorers with 23.In the nightcap, Adrian Allman led five Lakers in double digits with 19 points, while the bench added a season’s best 31 points as the league leaders recorded their first ever season sweep of Pinelands following an 88-67 rout.It was the Lakers’ reserves, led by back-up small forward Ian Alexander, who opened up the initial 20-point margin (43-23) in the second quarter, before Andre Lockhart and Ormond Haynes combined for 19 fourth-quarter points to squash a third-quarter rally from the Pine.Lockhart finished with 18 points, Haynes added 16, Alexander had 15, while Birkett chipped in with 11 points as the league leaders (14-1) await the winner of that regular season finale in their first-round play-off match-up.Pinelands swingman Decarlo Skeete led all scorers with 21 points and Kirk Patrick had 17.                                                                                                        

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