Cavs hand Cougars another defeat
FROM THE LOOKS of things, Cougars’ latest defeat might be the least of their worries.
Head coach Wade Medford now not only has to deal with the absence of his team’s proven leader Adrian Stewart, but also with a visibly disgruntled Cougars’ bench being the main talking point during Saturday night’s 90-73 blowout loss at the hands of a streaking Station Hill Cavaliers side at the YMCA.
Not to take anything away from a Cavaliers unit which has hit its peak and now rattled off three successive wins since the start of the second round, but Cougars, one of the pre-tournament favourites, practically self-destructed.
With Stewart watching on, his right hand heavily bandaged from an injury that will likely keep him out until the start of the play-offs, one Cougars’ player after another could be heard or seen venting their frustration towards Medford’s tactics.
At one point after being subbed in the second half, Ricardo Jemmott threatened not to take any further part in the game.
Point guard Stevenson Callender and Errol Pollard were also visibly upset, with Pollard, who did not feature in the contest, opting to sit in the bleachers rather than on the bench with the rest of his teammates.
Despite their constant bickering, Cougars matched the Cavs stride for stride right up until the opening minutes of the fourth quarter before wilting under the pressure of a rampaging Cavs side.
Through the efforts of swingman Darren Hunte, and Kelvin “Business Man” Patterson, the Cavaliers quickly transformed a 62-56 score heading into the fourth quarter into a 12-point lead.
A Steve Grenville layup was quickly followed by one from Hunte, before Corey Howard’s baseline jumper helped to cap the 6-0 run that knocked the wind from Cougars’ sails.
A layup from Selwyn Brooks at the 6:47 mark eventually got Cougars going, but it was a case of too little too late, as they never got any closer than eight the rest of the way, with Godfrey Leacock’s two late three-pointers helping to bring some respectability to Cougars’ final score.
Their disappointing fourth-quarter showing was a far cry from their performance leading up to the half, during which Leacock in particular, had brought the small crowd on hand to their feet.
After a scrappy first period which saw eight turnovers in the game’s first three minutes and just 24 points in total being scored, the game heated up in the ensuing quarter.
With the scores locked at 17, Hunte knocked down a jumper, Jason Smith added a long trey and Howard’s classy layup after being set up by Patterson’s nifty spin move helped to spark a 17-7 Cavs run with 2:05 left in the quarter.
But Godfrey Leacock’s three consecutive treys capped a 13-point second quarter performance, the last one from way behind the arc and with Grenville in his face brought cheers from spectators. It helped to bring Cougars within one at the half (33-34).
Once again the Cavs started hot upon resumption, building a ten-point lead after another three-pointer from Smith (45-35) with just over four minutes gone, before baskets by Howard and Shawn Gaskin ended the run.
Brooks then scored two free throws and Howard added another basket as Cougars looked to have recovered from their internal meltdown to pull within two with the score 53-55.
The Cavs however had other ideas, eventually turning the contest into a lopsided victory.
Hunte led the Cavs (6-6) with 23 points while Smith added 19 and Patterson scored 15.
For Cougars, who dropped to 8-3, Leacock had 25 points, Jemmott scored 14 and grabbed 12 boards, and Brooks added 13.
In the night’s first game Challengers confirmed their stay in the Premier League with a 75-58 whooping of Combined Schools Tridents.
Alwyn Lovell had a game-high 28 points and ten rebounds, and Ramon Ward, Adrian Fowler and Ryan Moseley-Clarke each scored ten points to help Challengers improve to 5-6.