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Challengers fall flat again


JUSTIN MARVILLE

Challengers fall flat again

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THE POINTS just continue to pile up for Challengers’ opponents.
Even the kids are getting in on the act, as rookie swingman Brandon Hope exploded for a season-high 27 points to lead Warrens to yet another rout of Challengers following Sunday’s 90-55 rout in the Co-operators General Insurance Basketball Premier League at the Wildey Gym.
It was just the latest blowout loss for the demotion-bound Culloden Road side, who conceded their ninth straight total of over 80 while giving up an average of 98.1 points during that span.
At least Challengers won’t be enduring many more nights like these, not in the top flight anyway, with tonight’s contest against Urban Vybz St John’s Sonics serving as a much-awaited season finale.
Yet they still tried to go out with a bang after racing out to a 7-2 lead and surprisingly holding Warrens to only 15 first-quarter points.
But that was about all the defensive resistance Challengers would put up once Hope and Richie Walker accounted for ten unanswered points to open the ensuing second period.
Hope got things started with a triple, before he and Walker traded layups in transition in what could only be described as a continuous fast-break drill.
Walker then returned to drill a three-point of his own until centre Clive Holder put the real icing on the cake by dribbling defenders in the open court for a coast-to-coast lay-up.
And the transition party didn’t end there. Rookie point guard Brett Williams forced the issue while hitting Hope and Walker for more uncontested baskets in transition.
Even big man Lance Posey took the time to show off his open court skills when he led the break and tossed the lob for a two-handed flush from Dario Cumberbatch (67-31).
Hope then finished proceedings in the same vein he started them – following up a trey from the ring with two more fast-break lay-ups – to push the lead past 30.
Cumberbatch ended with 17 points and Walker added 15 while Ramon Ward led Challengers with 14 points.
On Saturday, Warriors put the brakes on a five-game losing streak by downing Combined Schools Tridents 72-66 in both teams’ regular season finale.
Pre-season favourites Smalta Pinelands will be looking to wrap up the league’s top seed by beating fellow play-off team Cougars tonight at the Wildey Gym.
A win for the Pine will result in the two teams matching up again in a first-round series starting on Thursday, and leaving defending champs Lumber Company LSC to face age-old rivals Station Hill Cavaliers in the other series.
If Cougars come out victorious, then Pinelands open the play-offs against Station Hill while LSC play Cougars in their best-of-three series.
 

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