Lady Cavs do double
These Cavs-Bulls match-ups have become mere formalities ahead of Station Hill’s championship celebrations.
Another women’s final and the Act II Popcorn Clapham Bulls laid another egg, as ten-time league champs Mpact Station Hill Cavs completed their eighth basketball double following Thursday night’s 60-56 victory in the knock-out final at the YMCA.
It was the second title game Clapham lost to the rival Cavs this season alone, having dropped last month’s three-game league finals for the third year running.
But this championship contest was supposed to follow a different plot for the upstart Bulls, who had the advantageof playing Station Hill without overseas-based Jamila Studer and Tamisha Flatts.
The cast might have differed but the script was all too familiar.
This time it was the unheralded Danesha Elcock providing the final nail by sinking two crucial jumpers inside the final two minutes, the last of which put the Cavs ahead for good (57-56) with 1:19 remaining.
Her efforts were part of key performances from Cav’s reserves, who also accounted for Safiya Henry’s game-clinching basket that ended a back and forth final period which featured eight ead changes.
But if anything other than the result proved familiar, it was the sight of Astrid Alleyne dominating yet another second half of a title game.
Averaging a finals-best 22.6 points, the veteran Cavs centre picked up where she left off last week, scoring all but five of her game-high 24 points over the final two quarters.
It was the basis of another lopsided match-up with Shakria Shorey, who managed just two points before fouling out on another Alleyne low-post move, 27 seconds shy of the last whistle.
This followed a similarly humbling performance in the league finals, where Shorey totalled 18 points in the three games while consistently playing far from the hoop.
And Thursday was no different, as the Bulls got little offence outside of Toni Atherley and Jennifer Joseph-Hackett, falling behind by as many as seven (44-37) in the third after scoring just nine second-quarter points.
However, they managed to make a contest out of the fourth, following Ruth Gill’s brief five-point flurry that put Bulls ahead 49-48 at the 7:28 mark.
Clapham were probably unlucky not to have stretched the lead, as Atherley and Sadé Clarke accounted for five missed lay-ups between them after an Alleyne three-point play.
Joseph-Hackett ended the drought on an “and-one play” of her own, only for Elcock to hit the first of two jumpers before Gill briefly gave the Bulls a 54-53 advantage.
Alleyne and Joseph-Hackett traded buckets again but Elcock made the Bulls pay for playing off her again, by sinking another jumper with 1:19 to play.
Clapham never scored again though, with Shorey settling for a long jumper prior to fouling out, while Hackett missed a turnaround shot in the middle of the key.
They were still given one more chance when Alleyne split her free throws (58-56) but Clarke turned over the ball while over-dribbling, leading to Henry’s open-court basket before the final horn.
Wanda Agard-Belgrave had 14 points for the Cavs, who have won 18 titles in 11 seasons, while Atherley and Joseph-Hackett topscored for the Bulls with 18 and 15, respectively.