Lockhart secures Lakers’ crown
So much for basketball’s big rivalry.
The Lakers-Cavs feud really didn’t pan out either.
The league’s best point guard? Andre Lockhart put an end to the debate, and Mpact Station Hill’s knockout run, scoring a game-high 20 points while holding Corey Williams scoreless in the Lumber Company Lakers’ 89-75 title-game blowout at the Barbados Community College on Saturday.
It was the anticlimatic outcome of a final that promised so much – built up as a rivalry game involving two heated adversaries contesting their fifth title-game in seven years.
And that paled in comparison to the storyline surrounding the even more hyped animosity between the two national guards.
In the end, both Lakers and Lockhart merely took advantage of a huge gap in talent.
Williams just never looked comfortable against his bigger counterpart, struggling to even get off shots while constantly being kept out of the painted area.
It proved a far cry from Lockhart’s performance, which started with an opening triple – the third time in four games he opened Lakers’ scoring with a three – and featured big shot after big shot.
None, though, were bigger than a back-breaking trey that essentially ended Station Hill’s fourth-quarter rally, or the triple that put a stop to Darren Hunte’s impressive highlight reel in the second.
At least one contest was fairly competitive.
For a while, any way.
Twice the Cavs fought back valiantly from menacing double digit deficits, reducing a 49-36 half-time hole to just two points (57-55), before rallying within six (68-62) midway through the fourth.
This was in a contest that quickly took on the intensity a playoff game after Station Hill answered every of their opponents’ threes with a basket in the paint in an early 14-13 Lakers lead.
But the cushion soon became 11 points (33-22) early in the second following series of jumpers from veteran forward Matthew Moore and free throws from reserves Mark Bridgeman and Jamar King.
Hunte swiftly laid waste to that lead though, hitting a thunderous two-handed put-back and huge trey before dunking again to pull the Cavs within two (33-31). However, Lockhart went on a personal run of his own, scoring the next five points as part of Lakers 16-5 run that closed the half.
Station Hill were at it again though, cutting Lakers lead to just two (57-55) after another surge from Hunte combined with Jamai Puckerin and Junior Moore’s dominance of the paint.
And a Cavaliers’ late-game rally loomed menacingly when Seon Hilliman started the fourth with a floater and assisted on successive baskets (68-62).
But Lockhart ended that run too, sinking a timely trey prior to five straight points from King and successive Bridgeman lay-ups that engineered a clinching 15-2 run (80-62).
Bridgeman finished with 14 points while King and Ricardo Jemmott added 12 apiece. For the Cavs, Hunte top-scored with 20, Puckerin had 15 and Moore scored 12 points.