Cavs’ streak ends
THE LEAGUE’S BIG SURPRISE just got a shock of their own.
Station Hill’s streak is over, and by the smallest of margins, as Kevin Sealy missed a go-ahead lay-up with seven seconds left in Sunday’s thrilling 78-77 last-second defeat to Warriors in the Co-operators General Insurance Basketball Premier League at the Barbados Community College.
It was the cruellest of ends to a stunning four-game winning streak, which featured victories over Smalta Pinelands and Cougars for a side that much wasn’t expected of.
But the Cavs are a surprise no more, not at least to the resurgent Warriors, who have also proven to be somewhat of a revelation after wrapping up their third straight win.
Warriors even looked likely of winning by a bigger margin while Kenny Matthews was busy leaking out in transition, with his 13-point fourth-quarter effort putting his side up by as much as seven (75-68).
However, the mettle that has defined these Cavs came to bear again, as Jason Smith and Darren Hunte hit treys in succession before the latter had three straight free throws down the stretch (78-77).
Seon Hilliman then left the door further ajar by missing two free throws of his own with ten seconds remaining while Station Hill started the break off the rebound.
Sealy came up short when it mattered most, though, wasting a perfect pass from Hunte in the open floor by missing an uncontested left-handed lay-up at the ring.
Station Hill still had one more chance, but Hunte’s fade-away off the ensuing inbounds pass fell well short while Jamai Puckerin didn’t have enough time to put up the subsequent rebound.
It proved the wildly-entertaining finish to a closely-contested game that neither side led by more than six before Matthews’ brief surge.
Every time the Cavs threatened to go on a run off of poorly-defended backdoor cuts from the weak side, Warriors managed to come up with a Kevin John triple.
When Station Hill forced the issue in transition off turnovers, Seon Hilliman found a way to turn a broken play into buckets.
Randy Simmons then came off the bench with three straight treys before Matthews continually snuck out in transition for a series of lay-ups as part of a lead-changing 12-1 run.
Matthews and Hilliman each scored 20 points for Warriors, who improved to a 4-2 record, while Nicholai Williams added 11 points and 12 rebounds. Hunte led Station Hill (4-2) with 14 points while Smith and Jamario Clarke both scored 11.
Later, Ian Alexander had a big dunk down the stretch before Keefe Birkett hit a huge jumper right after as defending champs Lumber Company LSC survived a threatening rally before holding on to beat rivals Warrens 82-74.
The win was the seventh in as many games for the unbeaten league leaders, who seemingly blew open a 39-35 half-time cushion by going on a quick 10-2 run in the third period (59-45).
And LSC still led by as many as 11 points (75-64) in the fourth before Pearson Griffith accounted for six quick points that sandwiched a Richie Walker trey pulling Warrens within four (75-71).
But Alexander took a dribble hand-off from Birkett and drove hard down the lane for a thunderous one-handed throw-down on the very next possession. Birkett then followed up by stopping on a dime for a pull-up jumper that all but ended the threat.
Allman led LSC (7-0) with 22 points, Alexander finished with 16, Birkett added 15 while Mark Bridgeman and Andre Boadu ended with ten points apiece.
Griffith had 19 points and 12 boards for Warrens (1-5), who got a further 18 points from Lance Posey and 15 from Walker.