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Atherley’s heroics not enough

Justin Marville

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Another game. Another failed fourth-quarter rally.
The Dynamo might be on vacation, but they haven’t taken a break from winning, as Toni Atherley missed a potential game-tying lay-up before the buzzer to leave a second Barbados basketball comeback effort just short in Saturday’s 68-66 heartbreaker against the Canadians at the Wildey Gym.
It was the lone blemish on an otherwise spectacular individual performance from the national combo guard, who almost singlehandedly kept the select clubs side in the contest with a game-high 27 points.
But for the second straight exhibition, Atherley’s heroics weren’t enough.
Nor were some of Barbados’ best.
At one point the Canadian league squad looked like it was putting on a training camp rather than facing a collection of national players, having led by as many as 12 after picking apart a lacklustre zone to the tune of 17 of the game’s first 22 points.
Barbados switched to a man-defence though, rallying from that initial start and four other nine-point deficits – excluding a daunting 62-52 hole with 4:08 remaining.
However, Jennifer Joseph-Hackett had back-to-back baskets before overseas-based pro Jamila Studer rebounded from a brief slump with a jump-shot and a clutch triple with 1:12 left to pull the hosts within two.
And she very nearly added another jumper, as her potential game-tying shot rimmed out on the very next possession following a crucial stop at the other end.
Barbados retained possession, only for Atherley to miss her trademark banker and then a comfortable lay-up thereafter before teammate Shannon Green got tied up for a jump ball at the horn.
The wild, last-second finish was the unexpected turn of events from a rather lopsided start that saw Karine Bibeau and Marian Fortier torch a 3-2 zone while Audrey Lateunresse got free inside for easy baskets in a 17-5 run.
Barbados quickly responded by playing “man”, and Atherley came alive off the dribble drive to spark an 11-0 run as the two sides battled in a physical second quarter.
The Dynamo threatened to blow open the game in the third, with Barbados losing Fortier and Suzelle Beauregard on simple screens leading to a 47-39 cushion.
That lead soon became a double-digit one after Lateunresse hit a trey and then faked Joseph-Hackett out of her shoes on a “dream shake” to put the visitors ahead 62-52.
Lateunresse finished with 23 points, while Fortier and Anook Boulangeir added 12 points apiece for the Dynamo. Studer ended with 19 points and Joseph-Hackett scored 11.