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Cougars fight off Warrens

Justin Marville

Cougars fight  off  Warrens

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NOW THAT’S MORE like it!
The men once tipped to win it all are back in winners’ row, even if barely, as Cougars wasted all but five of a 19-point lead before pulling out Wednesday’s 73-66 nail-biter over Warrens in the Co-operators General Insurance Basketball Premier League at the Wildey Gym.
It was the much-needed end to a daunting three-game losing streak, which also encompassed the sudden resignations of head coach Oliver Nicholas and point guard Terrence Roach.
And they very nearly added another to an already long line of losses, with American forward Lance Posey engineering one furious second-half rally that got Warrens within five (63-58).
This was after Cougars built what appeared to be an insurmountable 52-33 lead early in the third quarter by dominating virtually every facet of the game.
But the game quickly turned thereafter, with back-to-back Richie Walker buckets lighting a fire under Posey which seemed impossible to extinguish once the big man started to get going.
Starting with and-one play underneath, the versatile forward then followed up with a three-point play of the less traditional kind, helping reduce the deficit to eight (58-50) by the end of the period.
He wasn’t done just yet either, scoring two free throws that sandwiched baskets by Walker and Pearson Griffith to make the contest a two-possession game with 2:50 left.
However, Adrian Stewart put his MVP credentials to good use, ending the threat with a huge trey and a fade-away jumper in the key on subsequent trips down the court (68-58).
Yet Posey refused to go away quietly, hitting an ensuing banker before scoring two free throws (68-62), although Warrens never got any closer the rest of the way.
It was a wild finish to a game Cougars threatened to blow open from the opening tip following their 9-2 start to the contest.
Warrens eventually settled down to lock the scores at 11 before Ricardo “Howard” Jemmott scored or assisted on 12 of his team’s 14 points in a 14-2 run.
The contest then turned into one-way traffic as Cougars converted every subsequent rebound and steal into fast-break points, with Stevenson Callender and Damien Nicholls leading the transition romp (44-31).
Jemmott then put the cap on their huge lead with two sweeping lay-ups following yet another Callender open court basket.
Jemmott finished with 17 points and 15 rebounds for Cougars, who improved to a 3-4 record, while Nichollas scored 15, with Stewart and Callender adding ten points apiece. Posey had game-highs of 26 points and 18 rebounds for the last-placed Warrens (1-6).
Earlier, Station Hill Cavaliers held Tridents scoreless for the first five minutes of the second half to break open a close four-point game en route to a 76-60 win over the schoolboys.
Led by the frontcourt combo of Jamai Puckerin and Jamario Clarke, the Cavs rattled off 16 points unanswered to turn a 36-32 half-time affair into a 20-point rout.
Tridents did manage to rally twice thereafter, going on an 11-1 run towards the end of the third before eventually getting within single digits (66-57) on eight straight points between Anand Joseph-Thorne and Akeem Marshall.
But Kevin Sealy slammed the door shut with a driving lay-up before baskets from Puckerin and Clarke re-opened Station Hill’s sizeable advantage.
Puckerin led Cavs (5-2) with 17 points and Clarke added 17 points and 14 rebounds while Kelan Phillips top-scored for Tridents (1-6) with 16 points.