Hip! hip! Station Hill!
Market Hill will have to put any designs on the Premier League back on the shelf.
Station Hill just wished they had space on theirs.
Basketball’s Intermediate cup isn’t leaving the ’Hill anytime soon, not after Steve Grenville had five of his 20 points during a decisive 7-1 fourth-quarter run in Game 2, as Mpact Cavaliers completed a two-game finals sweep of Fruits & Veg R Us Market Hill via Monday’s 70-66 victory.
It was the cap to the Cavs’ third straight Intermediate league title, ensuring the club would finish a third successive season with crowns from multiple divisions.
More impressively though, the win adds to the huge store of loot Station Hill have acquired since the turn of the millennium, which includes ten women’s league cups and nine ladies’ knockout crowns, four Premier League titles, two senior knockout championships and one Under-21 title.
“This is a very committed bunch,” said head coach Adrian Craigwell, who has won ten of the club’s 29 cups this millennium. “I think we are just champions.”
It’s a distinction that Market Hill have continually fallen short of, as they watched a third straight chance at Premier League promotion end in ruin after losing yet another play-off series to their nemeses.
And while not as long as the 2009 double-overtime heartbreaker, this latest dud was every bit as cruel, with Market Hill wasting one of the truly dominant two-way performances from big man Pedro Wickham.
Had stats been taken, the six-foot-seven forward would’ve surely recorded a triple-double after pulling down what seemed to be 20 rebounds and swatting over ten blocks to add to his 13 points.
But his teammates inexplicably “froze” him out for the game’s final 5:50, in which Wickham’s lone shot had to come from beyond the arc.
It was also a credit to the Cavs’ improved half court defence, which held their opponents scoreless over a crucial four-minute span in the fourth after Market Hill rallied from down six (63-57) to tie the game at 63 with 5:50 to play.
However, the St George side settled for several outside shots from Dwayne Boucher as the champs dared point guard Omar Parris to shoot from the top while crowding Wickham in the high post.
The resulting missed shots and turnovers led to Grenville scoring a pair of free throws and a “and-one” play before Dwayne Kellman got free for an uncontested layup to put Cavs up 68-63.
Decino Corbin put in the final nail by leaking out for a transition basket off of Wickham’s missed three with 38 seconds left.
It was the finish to a quarter that Station Hill looked certain of dominating when Darren Hunte started the fourth with a pair of short jumpers to open up a 63-57 lead.
But Hunte also accounted for successive turnovers, the last of which resulted in a Boucher layup that ignited a 6-0 run which locked the scores at 63.
Kellman finished with 16 points and Hunte 13.
For Market Hill, Boucher led all scorers with 21 points, Wickham had 13 and Parris and Dane Giles 11 apiece.