Station Hill take epic finals against Lakers 3-1
Stories by Justin MarvilleTHE EPIC FINALS didn’t get its classic fifth game. A fourth extra period was more than enough. The series’ second overtime game ended with Mpact Station Hill Cavaliers’ second successive title, as the champs won a 92-88 thriller over Lumber Company Lakers at the Barbados Community College on Thursday. It was the cap to an historic 3-1 triumph in one of basketball’s greatest Premier League finals. A fitting finish to an epic rivalry, this series had already featured a triple-overtime marathon and a last-second nail-biter in the series’ first two games. All that was missing from the clubs’ fourth successive post-season matchup was a decisive fifth game.
But Corey Williams robbed the classic finals of its deserving Game 5, dramatically scoring 18 of a series-best 30 points in the fourth and extra periods after hitting one big shot after another. None were bigger than the game-tying free throw line jumper with 19 seconds left in regulation which forced the extra period. If not as crucial, though, the step-back jumper over Jamar King was equally as dramatic, as Williams was also responsible for putting the Cavs ahead for good (88-85) with 1:35 to play in overtime. Both clutch jumpers proved the crowning moments of two separate individual runs, where the diminutive floor general seemingly found a way to put the champs on his shoulders. “I just had to find a way to thank the coach for allowing me to prove that I am one of the best in Barbados,” said Williams, who didn’t even tally 30 points from the previous three games.
The first run – the basis of Station Hill’s 9-4 rally in the dying moments of the fourth period – came as Williams accounted for the last nine Cavs points in regulation which overturned a telling 75-70 deficit with 1:40 remaining. It began with a pair of free throws, included a reverse lay-up followed by a lead-changing trey, before the national point guard was forced to reply to two straight Lakers baskets with the game-tying jumper. That possession started badly, with Jason Smith taking a heavily-contested fade-away, but it ended well when Lakers couldn’t grab the ensuing rebound and the ball fatefully bounced to an unmarked Williams at the charity stripe.
The second – the spark for an 11-3 Cavs surge – came as Station Hill faced another deficit, this time an 85-81 hole that followed two Matthew Moore jumpers and André Lockhart’s free throws early in overtime. But Williams countered once more, sinking a banker and two free throws of his own prior to the long-range step-back that finally finished Lakers’ comeback hopes. Lakers centre André Boadu made good on two free throws, though, and King split a pair at the line, before a questionable out-of-bounds call gave Lakers 40 seconds to erase Cavs’ 89-88 advantage. But the Husbands men got an equally dubious no call at the other end, forcing them to send Kevin Sealy to the line with ten seconds to play.
It proved their last undoing as they never fully recovered the rebound off the second missed attempt, leading to a fateful turnover which Smith eventually converted into the game-sealing free throws. Kelvin Patterson assisted Williams with 17 points and 11 rebounds, Smith added 14 and Sealy finished with 11 for the Cavs, who won their fourth title in seven years and sixth league crown since 1988. “This championship feels great, and with this type of rivalry hopefully we can both get back here to make it another of those fantastic series again,” said Cavaliers head coach Adrian Craigwell. For the Lakers, who beat the Cavs in the 2007 and 2008 finals, Lockhart top-scored with 18 after going 12-for-13 at the line; Boadu had 12, while King, Ian Alexander, and Keefe Birkett all scored 11.