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Gill leads Pine to KO cup


Gill leads Pine to KO cup

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WARRIORS definitely gave a better account of themselves this time.
They just never accounted for Jeremy Gill.
The biggest of the stars shone brightest this night, as Gill had 32 points, including 13 in the fourth quarter of Smalta Pinelands’ title-clinching 69-57 win over Warriors in Saturday’s Co-operators General Insurance Premier League basketball knockout final at the Barbados Community College.
It was the cap to the first title of any kind in eight years for a star-studded Pine side that was assembled for the primary purpose of winning crowns like these.
At least Warriors made them work for this one, having pulled within single digits (50-42) early in the fourth quarter despite getting blown out by 25 points only four nights earlier.
But there was just no stopping Gill, especially down the stretch where the prolific combo guard had all but six of the team’s fourth-quarter points, including nine of the last 11.
And this was after Warriors did a good job to remain within striking distance throughout the third, before Seon Hilliman hit a triple on the other side of the break to pull them within eight.
Those hopes simply got shot down, just like every defender sent Gill’s way thereafter during a subsequent run of 11 unanswered points.
“We know they’re really a good defensive team, so we wanted to post up Jeremy against their smaller guards to get some easier looks,” explained captain Charles Vanderpool.
When those defenders inevitably overplayed, Gill responded by cutting backdoor for a pair of lay-ups on the baseline to start that 11-0 run.
His former Clapham running mate Halley Franklyn added back-to-back baskets too, when he turned consecutive turnovers into transition scores, capped by a two-handed flush.
Gill wasn’t done, though, quickly following that up with a trey five feet beyond the arc, and chipping in with two more baskets for good measure.
He even proved a menace at the other end of the floor after going toe-to-toe with Kenny Matthews to block his dunk attempt at the ring.
It was the story of the night for a Warriors team that missed an incredible 57 of their 78 shots from the floor in a woeful offensive performance.
Yet this was the same unit which scored the game’s first four points, but only added a further five for the rest of the first quarter before falling behind 21-11 early in the second.
The Pine actually led by as many as 14 (28-14) in that opening half following a quick burst that featured a Gill post up and Vanderpool’s “and-one” play underneath.
Pinelands were never allowed to run away with the contest, though, even after Ramon Simmons’ triple, with Daniel Durant getting away for a couple lay-ups to bring Warriors back within eight (33-25).
The two sides then traded scores and stops in a slugfest of a third quarter as the Pine never led by more than 13 (38-25) once Kevin John started to get involved offensively.
Pinelands did manage to enter the fourth with a 50-39 lead following lay-ups from Anthony Barrow and Kevin Andrews until Warriors threatened briefly via Hilliman’s trey.
“This is all the hard work we put in at practice because this is no fluke,” explained Vanderpool.
“But we won’t be satisfied with this one title as there’s a bigger one still left for us to get.”
Junior Moore finished with ten points and ten rebounds, while Gill also had 12 boards. Nicholai Williams led Warriors with 20 points, ten rebounds and six blocks.
Earlier, Adrian Allman had 29 points as defending league champs Lumber Company LSC moved a half-game ahead of the Pine for the play-offs’ top seed after crushing Combined Schools Tridents 81-55.
Ian Alexander added 15 points and Ormond Haynes had 13, while Nikolai Burton led Tridents with 16 points.