Schoolboys upset favourites
It’s been a while since Jackson shed their status as Premier League basketball minnows.
Someone just keeps forgetting to remind the schoolboys.
Akeem Williams hit two of his team’s four fourth-quarter treys before Mark Bridgeman sank the eventual go-ahead triple with 1:27 left, as Co-operators General Tridents overcame a ten-point deficit to stun title favourites British American Insurance Jackson 58-57 at the Wildey Gymnasium.
It was the schoolboys’ third win over Jackson in the team’s last four meetings, which includes last season’s historic title-winning performance in the knockout final.
Their recent record should come as no surprise, though, considering Tridents have beaten their St Michael counterparts at least once every year since Jackson gained promotion to the top flight five years ago, highlighted by a 113-86 drubbing in the 2008 regular season.
But Jackson’ latest hiccup is as shocking as any, taking into account the depth of talent they’ve acquired to make a run at the league title this year.
And it’s especially worse considering Jackson led by double digits (48-38) with fewer than eight minutes remaining following an almost three-minute scoring drought.
However, the upstart schoolboys finished the game on a 19-10 game-winning run, sinking four triples in the process as Jackson managed a further three field goals the rest of the way before going scoreless over the final 2:15.
Lorenzo Thorpe sparked the rally with a huge trey from the left wing, while Williams and Dario Cumberbatch had three knifing layups between them to pull Tridents within one (50-49).
The run seemingly came to an end though once Austin split a pair of free throws and knocked down a jumper that appeared to give Jackson back the momentum.
But Williams was back at it again, hitting successive long-range bombs from the top of the arc before Bridgeman sank one of his own to put schoolboys up by one (58-57).
Neither side would score again, even after Jackson found themselves with plenty opportunities following two crucial Tridents turnovers.
Williams was stripped on his way to the basket, resulting in a wide-open triple for Levar Greaves that clanked harmlessly off the side of the ring.
Then Bridgeman was whistled for a five-second violation off the ensuing inbounds pass, but Tridents dodged a bullet when the referee blew a non-shooting foul as Manuel Alleng was tripped on his way to the basket with five seconds left.
The resulting inbounds play left Peter Alleyne having to settle for a heavily contested three from the top of the arc as time expired.
Bridgeman finished with a team-high 13 points while Williams and Cumberbatch both added 12. Jackson’s Javid Beckles led all scorers with 14.
In the night’s other game, Sean Parris led five players in double digits with 18 points in Act II Popcorn Clapham Bulls’ 86-56 rout of a listless Roll-A-Way Storm St John’s Sonics.
The contest was never close as Clapham forced six first-quarter turnovers in an opening 32-7 first-quarter surge. Bulls led by as many as 34 points (54-20) in the first half while Rahiim Gibbons (16), Halley Franklyn (15), Nicholas Jones (13) and Jeremy Gill (13) filled up the scoresheet.
Dwayne Kellman had 17 points for St John’s and reigning MVP Akeem Marsh added 12.