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Gems go down

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

Gems go down

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Fresh from winning the 2013 senior netball knockout crown, Pine Hill St Barnabas polished off Phoenix Gems with relative ease when the league competition continued on Wednesday night at the Netball Stadium.
Two of the stars from St Barnabas’ knockout triumph, the powerfully built Shonette Bruce and sharp shooter Laurel Browne, shone once again in a contest between some of the tallest players in the island. Gems, who are actually the national under-21 outfit, boasted six-footers in the Wharton sisters, Shonica and Shanice, as well as Shannon Hackett, Shanice Rock and Chemyne Alleyne.
However, after the first quarter ended 11-11, the Gems proved no match for St Barnabas, who ran away with a 54-35 victory. Goal shooter Browne netted 45 of 54 attempts and the experienced Julie Phillips, filling in for an unwell Sheniqua Thomas, added nine of 13.
The Gems were outshone in every quarter after the first by at least five goals as they trailed 17-26 and 26-40 before losing by a margin of 19 goals. The gentle giant Shonica Wharton, at goal shoot, and British-based Tonisha Rock-Yaw, who scored 25 of 32 and five of eight shots, respectively, had looked like giving St Barnabas a challenge. Shannon Hackett was introduced in the final quarter at goal attack and she nailed five of her six shots.
However, the experienced St Barnabas centre court trio of Marissa Burgess, Samantha Browne and Jeneice Clarke were well supported by the defence of Bruce and old stager Jacqueline McConney. Gems’ Shanice Wharton and her replacement Shanice Rock struggled to contain Laurel Browne and Phillips.
Even when Gems relied on girth and physical play to try to slow or stop St Barnabas, Laurel Browne displayed confidence and accuracy by sinking a number of long range “bombs”.
St Barnabas’ coach Margaret Cutting will be in action again tonight, but she will be dictating the pace for the rebranded and rebooted Cave Hill Blackbirds, who clash with Pride of Villa in the key game at 7 p.m. (KB)