Andre’s got in on lock
HE DELIVERED ONE of the most improbable feats of shot-making.
So improbable, Andre Lockhart himself still can’t believe it.
The man who delivered one of the all-time great finals performances isn’t quite sure how he got it done after recording successive 30-point efforts to lead Lumber Company Lakers to their latest Premier League basketball crown.
Lockhart revealed his astonishment at the feat after picking up his first ever Finals MVP award following the end of Lakers’ 3-0 series sweep of Smalta Pinelands.
“I have to thank God, though, because a lot of those shots I made were just kind of incredible,” said the star point guard of his historic efforts.
“I can’t even describe half of them, sometimes the bucket just seemed really big,” added the 27-year-old national player.
It was truly one of the most memorable performances on local basketball’s biggest stage, as Lockhart became the first player in more than a decade to open the finals with 30-point outputs by scoring 33 and 34 points in Games 1 and 2, respectively.
But it wasn’t the points he scored but more so the manner he did such, with the veteran national player seemingly able to hit shots from just about anywhere on the court in those first two games.
From contested treys to nifty floaters and incredible “and-one” drives, Lockhart just wouldn’t miss in an incredible two-game spell where he hit eight treys while shooting 50 per cent from the floor.
At one point the surreal floor general even had a rare “four-point” play after adding a buzzer-beating heave from just beyond half court for good measure.
“I really like shooting in the Gymnasium [of the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex], I don’t know what else I can say about it,” the former Coleridge & Parry schoolboy joked.
And it wasn’t just at the offensive end that Lockhart made his mark either.
Tasked with the primary assignment of marking the league’s most dynamic force in Jeremy Gill, Lockhart helped contain his counterpart to just 19 points a contest – some four points below his league-leading average.
“Jeremy is a great talent, and if he gets a rhythm then he’s hard to guard, so I had to get up on him early and make him uncomfortable,” said Lockhart of matching up with his fellow national team backcourt starter.
“But I was just focused on playing my best basketball, not worrying about the referees and just playing my game and making shots, some of which I still can’t believe right now.”
But if he found his performance truly astonishing, it definitely didn’t come as a surprise to Francis Williams – the head coach who expected nothing else from the man he deems Barbados’ best.
“Andre is the best player in the island and not just from a skill level, but an experience level too,” explained Williams.
“There’s no one else in the island playing right now that can draw on his level of experience at any particular point in time. It’s just a matter of it showing in our competition and you saw it here in the finals.”