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Cavs, UWI romp to Game 1 blowouts


Cavs, UWI romp to Game 1 blowouts

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BASKETBALL’s biggest rivalry? Oh, that’s just a game away now.

Another Cavs-UWI final seems but a mere formality after defending women’s basketball champs Station Hill Cavaliers, and rivals Blackbirds, both strolled to routine Game 1 routs in Saturday’s respective first-round series at the YMCA.

In what turned out to be one rather uneventful night, the Cavs coasted to a wire-to-wire 92-54 blowout of Combined Schools Hoopsters before UWI had a similarly easy time of it by beating Urban Vybz St John’s Sonics 84-65.

So straightforward was Station Hill’s result that the game was never in question from as early as the opening tip while Astrid Alleyne repeatedly pounded the schoolgirls in the paint.

With Ria Phillips then adding a series of open jumpers from the weak side, an initial 29-8 Cavs’ lead quickly ballooned into a 41-14 blowout only moments into the second quarter.

At least St John’s were competitive for the first six minutes of their contest, with Wanda Small hitting four uncontested jumpers to keep Sonics within two (12-10) early.

But that proved the extent of their resistance once UWI rattled nine unanswered points as part of a 13-4 finish to the quarter and an overall 33-13 run (45-23).

And if there was any doubt about Toni Atherley being the game’s best, then she quickly squashed it, just like any hopes of a Sonics’ upset.

Grabbing the rebounds herself to start the break, Atherley pushed the ball off each St John’s miss to hit Sade Clarke and Jada Saunders for easy lay-ups or to go coast to coast for buckets of her own.

On one occasion the crafty combo guard went behind the back to split two defenders en route to the niftiest of left-hand finishes. And that wasn’t even her best move on the night.

Seemingly trapped by another set of markers in the half court, Atherley quickly spun out of the double-team towards the baseline before dropping in a tear drop floater to the astonishment of an unmoved Sonics defence.

Atherley led all scorers with 38 points and 18 rebounds, Clarke and Jennifer Joseph-Hackett added ten points each while Small led St John’s with 26 points.

Earlier, Station Hill capitalised on the schoolgirls’ small frontcourt, and the initial absence of Makela Walcott by storming out to an early 21-point lead on the back of Astrid Alleyne and Shakira Shorey.

Hoopsters did show some brief glimpses though, as the Ashlee Daniel and Lieann Connell-Forde combo created some issues for the champs once they weren’t too busy turning over the rock.

But Walcott’s subsequent entry did nothing to stem the tide.

Phillips finished with 23 points, Alleyne had 17 points and 12 rebounds while Maria Cumberbatch and Tamisha Flatts both scored 12. Walcott led schoolgirls with 17 points, Connell-Forde added 15 points and ten boards while Daniel had 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Both UWI and Station Hill can advance to their second straight championship match-up with victories tonight at the same venue.