Gill leads Aces to title
Barbados’ best basketballer is back, and seemingly better than ever. Jeremy Gill scored a game-high 28 points through three quarters to lead Ace of Diamonds to a 91-78 win over Run it Red in Saturday’s final of the St Michael South Basketball Championships at Dayrells Road.
It was almost a highlight-reel preview for what the rest of the Premier League could expect for the upcoming season after the multi-skilled Gill missed most of last year, citing personal reasons.
But he surely didn’t miss much of anything in the St Michael South title game, scoring off dribble drives via a series of tough contested layups, floaters and even a pair of 30-foot bombs.
And it didn’t matter who was guarding him either, as Gill either waltzed past Kareem Farrell, shot over Keefe Birkett or just bullied his way through Akeem Williams to quickly turn the contest into anything but.
Oddly enough, Run it Red enjoyed the early exchanges of the all-Premier League match-up, scoring 11 of the game’s first 15 points behind an impressive, albeit brief, explosion from Farrell.
However, Ace of Diamonds rattled off the next 13 points unanswered through a series of buckets from Ian Alexander before Gill ended the quarter hitting a tough runner to cap a lead-changing 17-1 run (21-12).
The best of Gill was yet to come though, as the national combo guard then erupted for 15 second quarter, including three long-range bombs, to turn a nine-point cushion into a 48-28 half-time advantage.
Talented teenage swingman Rico Thorpe provided some punch off the bench with a triple and a couple of lay-ups, but it was Gill who delivered the real knockout blow after drilling shots from just about anywhere on the floor.
To add further insult, Gill started the second half by throwing the ball through Williams’ legs to free himself for an off-balanced floater before single-handedly squashing every attempted comeback effort.
Run it Red did manage to make a game of it in the fourth while Gill rested, coming back from down 23 points (73-50) to pull within 13 (88-75) behind Birkett’s 12-point performance in the quarter.
It proved too little too late, though, as national point guard Andre Lockhart countered with an “and-one” play off a spin move in the lane, before Thorpe ultimately crushed the rally with a huge one-handed slam along the baseline.
Alexander assisted Gill with 19 points, Kevin Austin had 13 and Thorpe added ten while Birkett top-scored for Run It Red with 28 points.
In the night’s earlier game, Jermaine Reynolds had a game-high 20 points while Corey McDonald and Randy Simmons added 17 apiece as Alliance coasted to a 78-60 victory over Rattle Snakes in the third-place game.