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Polytechnic hold off HC

Justin Marville

Polytechnic hold off HC

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So much for that “Kolij” comeback.
Harrison College gave their home fans another thriller, just not another win, as Ashley Smith scored a decisive banker with 21 seconds remaining to end the hosts’ latest comeback effort in Tuesday’s 49-43 loss to the unbeaten Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic (SJPP) in the United Insurance Basketball Schools’ Competition.
It was the second win in as many games for the joint league leaders, who coasted to a 24-point drubbing of Lodge in Thursday’s season opener.
But there’s been nothing dull about “Kolij” basketball this season, not after the Final Four hopefuls rallied from Thursday’s fourth-quarter deficit to survive an overtime thriller against rivals Queen’s College.
And this latest home game had the look of another last-second nail-biter, as Harrison College fought back from down 11 points (31-19) in the second half to pull within two points with 37 seconds remaining.
However, Smith quickly made the contest a two-possession game just 16 seconds later, beating his defender off the dribble before pulling up in the key for an unlikely off-balance runner.
The hosts didn’t do themselves any favours either, only getting off one shot down the stretch after point guard Anand Joseph-Thorne turned over the ball on the very next possession while looking for an open Nikolai Burton.
Polytechnic forward Nicholas Rouse then added a pair of free throws in the dying seconds after Joel Hunte’s heave was way off the mark.
It was the stunning finish to a game that swung decisively in Polytechnic’s favour following Rouse’s eight-point outburst in a third quarter where he scored as many points as the home side.
At one point Rouse appeared like he would outscore them by himself, having leaked out for three easy lay-ups before adding a left-handed post move to turn a 19-18 half-time lead into a 31-19 cushion.
And “Kolij” managed just one point for the quarter’s first eight minutes after needlessly settling for long contested three-point attempts off the first pass of each possession.
But Joseph-Thorne scored five straight points on two free throws and a clutch triple before Hunte added a long jumper of his own to spark an 11-2 run spanning the end of the third and the start of the fourth.
Rouse seemingly ended the rally with a subsequent and-one play only to watch Hunte drill a three-pointer and Chioke Holder get free for a two-handed dunk that pulled the hosts within one (36-35).
Burton also broke away for a throw-down of his own as Harrison College traded baskets with Rouse until the last minute of the contest, when Holder’s lay-up made the game a one-possession affair (45-43).
Rouse led all scorers with 22 points, Smith added 11 for SJPP. Burton top-scored for Harrison College – who fell to 1-2 – with 11 points.
At Husbands, Combermere forward Jamario Clarke had a game-high 28 points to improve the visitors’ unbeaten record to 2-0 in a hard-fought 61-57 win over Queen’s College.
Jimal Sing added 22 points for Combermere while Alejandro Boxhill led the home side (1-2) with 23 points.
In Church Hill, Akeem Marshall scored a season-high 30 points to lead hosts Foundation (1-1) to their first win of the season in a 51-36 victory against St Michael (0-2) while reigning eight-time kings Barbados Community College improved to 3-0 following a 59-26 road win versus Lodge (0-3).