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Warrens reign


Justin Marville

Warrens reign

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This time, there was no 50-point performance from Zahir Motara, but no hope for St Matthias either.
Warrens are basketball’s latest Third Division champs after Motara had 11 of his game-high 27 points as part of a decisive 22-6 fourth quarter run to cap a finals sweep of St Matthias Spurs via Thursday’s 81-70 Game 2 victory at the Wildey Gym.
It was the expected outcome – even if the margin wasn’t – of a classic David versus Goliath match-up, pitting the nucleus of players from the vaunted 2012 Premier League champs against this tournament’s Cinderellas.
Spurs just weren’t ready for the fairy tale to end, though, bouncing back from Motara’s 55-point effort in the opener to take a stunning first-half lead before holding Warrens to a 57-all deadlock at the start of the fourth period.
But St Matthias only managed three field goals over the next eight minutes, while Motara turned the contest into yet another highlight reel, full of moves that made him one of this country’s most feared guards.
Brian Armstrong started the run with a jumper and near impossible “banker” while falling to the floor before Motara went one better by scoring the unlikeliest of fast-break baskets among four defenders.
And the one-time national captain wasn’t done yet, adding two more layups in transition and assisting Riley for one of his own, prior to blowing the game open on a reverse layup and a big three-pointer (79-63).
It marked the end of Spurs’ valiant comeback effort – sparked by the return of inspirational floor general Kacey Bayne – whose absence was clearly felt in Game 1’s 114-72 rout.
He didn’t waste any time making his presence felt either, leading a rampant Spurs open court attack that created easy buckets for Renaldo Pitt and Kareem Bennett.
A stunning 13-8 lead soon became a 31-26 cushion once Danny Hurley joined the romp in transition in the second quarter until Warrens veteran Peter Alleyne threatened to take the contest away from Spurs with six quick points.
However, Bayne ended the half with a buzzer-beating jumper and St Matthias led by as many as six (49-43) on the other side of the break when he had successive layups.
But it was from there that Warrens finally took the threat seriously, as Pearson Griffith rejected two Hurley shots on the same possession before Motara scored five straight points to help lock the scores at 57 heading into the fourth.
Riley finished with 13 points and Alleyne added 12. Hurley led Spurs with 26 points, while Bennett and Bayne both scored 12 points.

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