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Cougars’ Leacock slams Senators

Justin Marville

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Just seven months after winning their only Premier League cup, Nicholls Baking Company Cougars already have to get used to holding another title – “defending champs”.
There’s just something about Godfrey Leacock and knockout basketball as the gung-ho swingman picked up right where he left off, scoring 37 points to lead the title holders to an opening-round 87-62 rout of Colombian Emeralds International Senators at the YMCA on Sunday.
It was the fourth time in six knockout games that Leacock scored 37 or more, following last season’s surreal tournament run where the Cougars’ guard had 39, 40 and 41 points in three straight contests.
He wasted no time proving those weren’t flukes either, opening with two quick baskets within the first 33 seconds as part of Cougars’ furious 27-9 start.
In all Leacock had 13 in that opening period before Senators even registered double digits, knocking down three treys against a listless defensive performance.
But the rout was really on at the start of the second, with Cougars going on a 12-0 run fuelled by three successive Justin Gaskin jumpers that put them ahead 41-14 with 6:25 left in the half.
Daniel Clement and Alvin Padmore tried to lead an ensuing comeback after rallying Senators within 15 (48-33) at the break, only for Leacock to rattle off 13 more points in the third.
His last surge spurred a decisive 24-13 Cougars run (72-46), which was further bolstered by consecutive open-floor lay-ups from rookie point guard Jason Bowen.
Adrian Catlyn assisted Leacock with 12 points while Gaskin and Adrian Stewart added ten apiece. For Senators, Padmore had 18 points, Clement finished with 13, while Anthony Forde and Romaine Lovell added 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Earlier, swingman Darren Hunte had a game-high 16 points, including two big third-quarter dunks, to help Mpact Station Hill Cavaliers kick off a new era with a 95-51 whipping of Co-operators General Tridents.
Playing without stalwarts Andrew Alleyne and Kelvin Patterson, the Cavs took a while to get adjusted to their new roster after holding a mere 19-15 first-quarter lead and 35-29 half-time cushion.
The schoolboys were probably happy with those initial returns though, having outfitted a squad with six rookies.
But their collective inexperience finally came to bear early in the third quarter as Tridents could only manage an Aamir Morris jumper in the first 4:13. The drought was part of a game-changing 24-8 Cavs run – started by a Hunte transition slam and capped by another huge throw-down off a baseline drive.
Seon Hilliman added 14 points in the win and former Trident Saeed Norville chipped in with 12, while Morris was the lone schoolboy in double digits with 11.