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Pinelands face Cougars again

Justin Marville

Pinelands face Cougars again

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Guess we know who the Pine wants to play.
Or who they don’t.
Smalta Pinelands have successfully avoided Station Hill, for one round at least, as Ramon Simmons hit a career-best ten treys in Tuesday’s 111-50 rout of Cougars to set up a rematch in the first round of tonight’s Co-operators General Insurance Basketball Premier League play-offs at the Wildey Gym.
It proved the very anti-climactic outcome to a regular season finale the Pine had to win to ensure they wouldn’t face a Station Hill side that they haven’t beaten all year.
Turns out they weren’t the only ones with this particular match-up in mind.
Cougars just never seemed daunted at the prospect of playing Pinelands again, rather almost welcoming the match-up after turning up to the game with only six players – none of whom included their two stars Ricardo Jemmott and Adrian Stewart.
It was as if they were inviting the Pine to score too, as Cougars made nary an adjustment while Simmons hit four three-pointers in the first quarter alone before they fell behind by as many as 28 (48-20) in the opening half.
Their resistance couldn’t even be described as token, with Pine forward Charles Vanderpool beating everyone down the floor for a lay-up despite starting the break by blocking a shot at the other end.
And that spoke nothing of the worse defensive effort given on the other side of the break.
Not that Pinelands took their feet off the gas against a back-pedalling opponent, as their stars all played significant minutes, even after they went up 60 points.
Simmons simply continued his three-point barrage, dropping two more in the third quarter before capping the fourth with a further four shots from distance.
Jeremy Gill then got in on the long bomb act while dropping off a pretty no-look dime to a trailing Vanderpool, who finished the break with a two-handed flush.
Daniel Lovell came off the bench for a highlight play of his own via a nifty reverse lay-up, before Gill went one better by splitting two defenders with a spin move and then finishing over a third through a crafty lay-up.
As if that wasn’t enough, reserve forward Anthony Barrow then capped the show by driving home a stunning alley-oop in transition prior to another Gill triple (109-46).
Simmons led all scorers with 33 points while Gill had his first triple-double of the season with 27 points, 12 assists and ten steals. Halley Franklyn added 15 points and Vanderpool chipped in with 11 points, ten boards, seven assists and four blocks.
For Cougars, Selwyn Brooks scored a team-high 15 points while Godfrey Leacock had 12 points and ten rebounds.
The two teams open the play-offs at 6:30 tonight at the same venue ahead of the Lumber Company LSC-Cavs showdown.
Earlier, Romaine Lovell led five players in double digits with 22 ponts as Urban Vybz St John’s Sonics became the fifth team to drop over 100 points on the demotion-bound Challengers this season via a 110-68 blowout.
Stefan Clarke scored 20 points, Shane Whittaker had 17 points and 11 rebounds, Bernard Howell and Dwayne Kellman both scored 16 while Kevin Mason added 13 points. Alex Clarke led Challengers with 23 points.