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Down to Bulls, Cavs again

Justin Marville

Down to Bulls, Cavs again

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Maybe it’s the fourth time that’s the charm for Clapham.
Sade Clarke scored 31 points through three quarters as part of a 71-47 Game 2 rout, as Act II Popcorn Clapham Bulls set up yet another finals showdown with women’s basketball’s ten-time league champions Cavaliers after completing a two-game sweep of Tigers at the YMCA on Wednesday.
The win booked a fourth straight finals appearance for the perennial title contenders, who lost the previous three series to the lady Cavs.
It was also the ninth time in ten match-ups that Clapham beat the rival Tigers, including three successive play-off series victories.
And Bulls’ recent domination of the fixture was never under threat as Clarke had five of the game’s first nine points to put Tigers forward Tricia Gill in foul trouble within two minutes of the opening tip.
Clarke even added a further ten in the quarter, knocking down a pair of treys before taking advantage of Tigers’ woeful transition defence via two open court layups that opened up a 25-8 Clapham lead.
But Bulls’ crafty floor general was far from finished, returning in the second quarter to score six of an early 9-3 Clapham run that all but put an end to the contest.
Tigers mounted a brief rally by bringing full court pressure, while reigning MVP Maria Cumberbatch earned a couple trips to the foul line, but the Grazettes-based side never got any closer than 17 points (42-25).
Clarke started the third quarter with another triple and two more lay-ups before Toni Atherley’s surge pushed Clapham’s advantage past 30 (64-31).
Atherley finished with 14 points, while Cumberbatch top-scored for Tigers with 11.
Earlier, Mpact Station Hill Cavaliers held Combined Schools Hoopsters to just two third-quarter points and 13 for the entire second half to complete their series sweep via an 80-44 blowout in Game 2.
It was the second time in the series that the lady Cavs blew open a close first half contest by putting on the clamps to start the second half following a 22-10 third-quarter surge in Game 1.
But that run had nothing on this latest outburst, as Station Hill opened the second half scoring 13 points without reply to turn a 40-31 cushion into a 53-31 rout.
And it didn’t get any better for Hoopsters after Shannon Greene finally ended the drought 5:15 into the quarter, as Astrid Alleyne and Dana Jones led the champs on a 14-0 run to close the third.
Alleyne led all scorers with 23 points, Jones and Wanda Agard-Belgrave added 12 apiece while Ria Phillips had 11.
For the schoolgirls, Greene scored 12 and Makela Walcott 11.