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Cougars maul Bulls


Justin Marville

Cougars maul Bulls

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Vanrossi Holder made quite the first impression. Now everyone’s taking a second look at these Cougars.
The much-talked about American guard had 14 points off the bench in an entertaining Premier League basketball debut while Ricardo Jemmott had 19 points and 12 rebounds to spur the league-leaders to Saturday’s 80-57 rout of Clapham Bulls at Barbados Community College.
It was the fifth win in as many games for the unbeaten Cougars, who’ve used their historic start to the season to transform themselves from perennial cellar-dwellers to surprising fan favourites.
But the crowd truly came out to catch a glimpse of Holder following initial widespread reports of the heavyset guard’s varied skill set.
And the Rick Ross lookalike didn’t disappoint, wasting no time in making himself at home by drilling a long trey off his very first touch before going coast-to-coast for a spectacular “and-one” finish in traffic just two possessions later.
The best still was yet to come, though, with Holder showcasing some surprising springs while throwing down an emphatic two-handed put-back slam off a missed jumper to send the fans into a frenzy.
It proved the fitting punctuation mark to a run of seven unanswered Cougars points in the second quarter, slamming the door shut on any possible chances of a Bulls’ victory after Clapham went down by 22 (42-20) midway through the period.
This was after Bulls somehow managed to make a game of the contest within the initial exchanges of a 12-12 deadlock behind Richard Layne and Bryan Worrell.
However, Cougars accounted for the next ten points in succession off fast-break baskets from Adrian Stewart and Godfrey Leacock, before Holder and Jemmott put together that second-quarter surge to effectively put an end to the contest.
Clapham then virtually mailed it in on the other side of the break, managing just three field goals and seven points in the third quarter, while Stewart and Leacock added more points in transition to stretch the lead to 25 (63-38).
Stewart finished with 16 points, Stevenson Callender chipped in with 14 and Jemmott added five blocks. For Clapham, who dropped to a 2-3 record, rookie guard Pablo Kinch led the way with 11 points off the bench in his Premier League debut.
Earlier, Keefe Birkett continued his recent shooting spree by hitting six treys in a game-high 27-point showing in a starting role as the Lumber Company Lakers also remained unbeaten in an 87-58 thrashing of topflight newcomers Challengers.
The performance came directly on the heels of Birkett’s season-high 35-point effort against Clapham last week where the sweet-shooting guard hit eight three-pointers off the bench.
Adrian Allman added three long-range bombs of his own for 19 points and Andre Lockhart scored 14 as Lakers improved to a 4-0 record, never trailing after a 16-6 start to the contest.
Combo guard Adrian Fowler scored 16 points in his return from injury for Challengers, who lost their second game in a row to drop to 2-2.

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