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Lady Tigers outplay Bulls

Justin Marville

Lady Tigers outplay Bulls

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SO MUCH for that next Cavs-Bulls final.
Maria Cumberbatch had 11 of her game-high 23 points in the fourth quarter, including three decisive free throws in the final 18 seconds as Tigers held on for a tense 69-63 victory over Act II Popcorn Clapham Bulls in Sunday’s Women’s basketball knockout semi-finals at the YMCA.
The win provided a measure of solace for the Grazettes girls, who suffered successive first-round play-off losses to the same opponents while losing the teams’ last six match-ups altogether.
And this game almost followed that same script after Clapham scored the first six points of the fourth to take their first (49-48) lead 31 and a half minutes into the contest.
But Cumberbatch attacked the rack for four straight free throws before trading baskets with opposing combo guard Toni Atherley for a 56-all deadlock with 3:32 to play.
It was only the beginning of Cumberbatch’s fourth-quarter exploits, which included a sweeping drive to the middle for an “and-one” play and an assist on a Jacqui Browne lay-up that put Tigers up 64-59 inside the final minute.
Clapham didn’t go quiet though, as Atherley answered with a lay-up of her own before coming up with a steal that resulted in a put-back for Ruth Gill to put them within one.
However, Bulls never got any closer the rest of the way after Gill was called for an unsportsmanlike foul on Cumberbatch.
The Tigers standout hit both free throws and added another when Jennifer Joseph-Hackett failed to haul in a subsequent rebound, forcing Clapham to foul Cumberbatch yet again.
Bulls’ point guard Sade Clarke was left to force up a contested triple going to her left on the ensuing possession, and the long rebound led to a Tigers open court lay-up at the other end.
Latecia Greene and Tricia Gill added 12 points apiece for Tigers while Atherley and Clarke led Clapham with 19 and 17 points respectively.
Earlier, Ria Phillips scored 20 points through three quarters and reigning ten-time league champs Mpact Station Hill Cavaliers put themselves in line for a ninth knockout cup with a 67-26 thrashing of Combined Schools Hoopsters.
The lady Cavs never trailed in this one as the schoolgirls managed just six first quarter points while Phillips and Wanda Agard-Belgrave combined for 15 as part of an early 20-6 cushion.
That lead ballooned to 17 (34-17) by the half, before Phillips erupted for ten third-quarter points to individually outscore Hoopsters as the game turned into a 55-24 rout.
And the worst was yet to come, as the schoolgirls could only manage an Ashley Rock basket over the game’s final ten minutes while Safiya Henry and Sharece Shepherd put the finishing touches on the blowout.
Agard-Belgrave ended with 17 points while Rock led Hoopsters with eight off the bench.