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Corey’s back with a bang


Justin Marville

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Who says Corey McDonald is done?
Surely not St John’s.
So much for that demise, as the First Works Warriors star signalled a return to his old MVP ways with a 24-point performance in Saturday’s Premier League basketball season-opening 93-71 rout of Roll-A-Way St John’s Sonics at Community College.
It was the perfect start to a bounce-back season for McDonald, who looked more role player than franchise forward while battling knee and Achilles injuries over the last two years.
But nothing plagued him on this night, especially not any Sonics defender after the one-time MVP hit six of his team’s 11 triples in a rare appearance off the bench.
And this is coming from a man who seemingly wanted out just a week ago, having asked for a transfer to Pinelands before eventually deciding to stay home.
Guess it didn’t take long for Warriors to find out what they would’ve been missing.
Not that they looked worse off without him.
Nicholai Williams, Justin Maloney and Andre Pierre were the Warriors, who actually keyed a decisive 30-7 second-quarter run as Sonics managed just two field goals in a period in which a 29-23 deficit became a 59-30 rout.
McDonald got things going with back-to-back treys before Williams had a two-handed facial on Dwayne Kellman and another dunk on the baseline to blow open the contest.
Pierre split the slams with a nifty move in the paint and then returned to close the half with successive drives before Warriors led by as many as 30 (65-35) in the third.
St John’s forward/centre Akeem Marsh tried to marshal something of a rally, scoring 11 in the period on a series of jumpers and turnarounds but Sonics only cut the lead to 20 (65-45).
Warriors broke St John’s ensuing 2-2-1 press and converted the subsequent two-on-one plays to reopen a near 30-point cushion (80-53) in the fourth.
The margin was rather unexpected when Warriors struggled to cope with Marsh while trading baskets during Sonics’ initial 14-13 lead. However, McDonald announced his arrival with a pair of treys as part of a 16-5 spurt that put Warriors ahead 29-19.
Williams and Remar Smith both finished with 12 points for Warriors, while Marsh had a game-high 30.
Earlier, Jamai Puckerin had nine of his 19 points during a game-changing 20-3 second-quarter run as a new-look Mpact Station Hill Cavaliers side thrashed Colombian Emeralds International Senators 84-64.
Senators led 20-19 after the first quarter, but managed just three more points in the first eight minutes of the second (40-22) while the Cavs scored freely.
Darren Hunte had 14 points and Seon Hilliman 12 for the Cavs; Romaine Lovell scored a game-high 21 for Senators.

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