Pinelands take out Sonics
THIS TIME, the super team came out on top.
It didn’t take long for Smalta Pinelands to bounce back, with basketball’s big title favourites closing Tuesday’s contest on a 20-6 run en route to a 66-54 win over Urban Vybz St John’s Sonics in the Co-operators General Insurance Premier League at the Wildey Gym.
Led by a game-high 28 points and 15 boards from Charles Vanderpool, the performance served as a measure of redemption for a team that has promised so much but delivered next to nothing in Saturday’s shocking defeat to Station Hill.
Their title hopes weren’t all that gained a validation of sorts though, as Vanderpool finally came up roses in his personal big man duel with Akeem Marsh.
He even threatened to turn the contest into a massacre, having scored seven straight Pine points at one point as part of a 15-4 run that put Pinelands up 30-16 in the second quarter.
But Marsh delivered his own response in kind, hitting a huge turnaround jumper as the start of a go-ahead 17-2 rally (33-32) that he further punctuated with a big triple and put-back.
And that wasn’t even the extent of his damage as Marsh followed that up with a strong post move below before getting in transition for a lay-up of an easy steal.
However, Vanderpool easily got the last laugh, catching Marsh sleeping twice for a pair of uncontested baskets and then scoring again off another missed assignment.
In all the Pine captain had nine straight points to start the fourth quarter, breaking open a 46-all deadlock by spurring that 20-6 run to finish the contest.
He added a huge block for good measure before a Ramon Simmons triple and Junior Moore’s put-back put the Pine ahead 66-51.
It proved the frantic finish to a rematch of last year’s first round series that also saw Pinelands coming out on top.
They surprisingly managed to come out on top after the first quarter too despite Jeremy Gill’s initial turnover woes as Marsh struggled to get the ball consistently.
The game then really started to get away from St John’s when Simmons converted a steal into a reverse lay-up in transition to start a run of nine unanswered points in a 15-4 surge.
Moore ended with 15 points and 15 rebounds for the Pine, who improved to a 3-1 record, while Gill added 14 points and nine boards. Marsh led Sonics (2-2) with 22 points and nine rebounds and Shane Whittaker scored ten.
Earlier, forward/centre Nicholai Williams enjoyed his return to the line-up from injury with 27 points and ten rebounds to lead Warriors to a thrilling 64-63 comeback win over a slumping Warrens.
Seon Hilliman had 13 points for Warriors (3-2) while Posey led Warrens (1-4) with 18 points and 20 boards.