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Lakers blow away Pinelands


Lakers blow away Pinelands

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BASKETBALL’S BIG BATTLE seems more like a big mismatch.
And the Lakers-Pinelands showdown doesn’t look to be any better.
The debate over Barbados’ best may not be a discussion at all after Andre Lockhart out-duelled Jeremy Gill for a game-high 33 points to lead Lumber Company Lakers to a 75-55 blowout of Smalta Pinelands in Monday’s Game 1 of the Premier League finals at the Wildey Gym.
It was the biggest storyline coming out of a rather lopsided opening game that promised so much as a matchup of the league’s biggest stars.
Someone just clearly forgot to inform Gill, who never appeared engaged while scoring only 16 points on four of 11 shooting from the field and routinely failing to take on Lockhart in the much-hyped one-on-one matchup.
But if the showdown proved disappointing, it certainly wasn’t unforeseen, with Lockhart shutting down his opposite number to the tune of seven points in the opening game of the 2011 finals.
At least that Game 1 was competitive on other fronts.
The contest effectively stopped being one just minutes after the opening tip when Lakers responded to Pinelands’ only lead (2-0) by rattling off 13 unanswered points in the span of five minutes.
In all the Pine managed just eight points in that first quarter, and 20 first-half points altogether, while missing 23 of their first 31 shots to fall behind by as many as 17 (37-20) during the course of the opening 20 minutes.
With Gill all but refusing to attack Lockhart off the dribble, Pinelands’ offence degenerated into a predictably futile series of post-ups from Charles Vanderpool and even worse contested shots via Corey McDonald.
So bad was Pinelands’ performance that the only time they scored on successive possessions in the first half came on rare back-to-back treys from Gill (27-16), and those were after Lockhart had already hit two in a row of his own.
And Lockhart merely replied by hitting another triple, before scoring on a fast-break layup and a scoop shot as part of a run that saw him account for 13 straight Lakers points.
He wasn’t even done just yet, far from actually, as the crafty playmaker followed up baskets from Adrian Allman and Ian Alexander with a delightful crossover and layup before adding a high-arching banker late in third quarter (52-26).
About the only drama surrounding the game was when former Premier League forward Gary Miller was kicked out of the venue after being banned from attending games for threatening a referee in Pinelands’ previous contest.
The Pine did manage something resembling a run, though, with McDonald spurring a series of ten unanswered points (52-36) spanning the end of the third quarter and the start of the fourth.
However, Mark Bridgeman put an end to the brief rally with a fast-break layup and an “and-one” hook in the paint before Lockhart added a three-point play of his own.
Allman assisted Lockhart with 14 points, while McDonald had 15 points for Pinelands, who will look to even the best-of-five series tonight at the same venue.