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Short-handed St John’s routed by Pine

JUSTIN MARVILLE, [email protected]

Short-handed St John’s routed by Pine

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Looks like this season will be a mighty long one in Gall Hill.

Urban Vybz St John’s Sonics are already missing all those offseason departures, ending up on the wrong end of Wednesday’s 100-62 blowout against Orange 3 Pinelands in the Co-operators General Insurance Basketball Premier League at the Wildey Gym.

The result wasn’t exactly surprising, considering St John’s played without all five of their opening-night starters from last year, including the Australia-bound Akeem Marsh and fellow national players Charles Vanderpool and Ramon Simmons.

Yet they were still competitive for an entire half, having held the high-powered Pine to just 16 first-quarter points before leading 35-31 at one point on the back of a 20-6 run.

But Pinelands quickly put an end to that threat, closing the half by scoring nine of the next 11 points before blowing the contest wide open by outscoring Sonics 23-6 to start the third quarter.

Trapping every St John’s ball handler in pick-and-roll situations, the Pine guards were busy creating turnovers that led to a flurry of points in the open court.

Ian Alexander actually benefited to the tune of seven straight points after knocking down a pull-up trey in transition and two other layups off a no-look pass from former national captain Zahir Motara.

Derion Hurley got in on the act with a fast-break basket too and then Junior Moore put the Pine up 63-43 on a nifty up-and-under, left-handed “and-one” finish in the paint.

Motara did the real damage in the fourth quarter though, drilling four treys in transition including three in succession as part of a 13-0 start to the period (78-48).

Simmons added a long range bomb of his own and then went the length of the court for a coast-to-coast layup to cap one lopsided half.

It was nothing like the back-and-forth affair in the first quarter, where new St John’s coach George Shepherd managed to keep his undersized squad in a one-possession game for the most part.

Pinelands did threaten early in the second though, as Motara leaked out for a layup and an uncontested triple to transform their 16-13 advantage into a 25-15 cushion.

But Kevin Robinson answered with two of his own jumpers before Jamar King, Stefan Clarke and Romaine Lovell started bulldozing their way to the front of the ring to cap that 20-6 run.

However, Hurley squashed that rally with three baskets in the paint including a tough “and-one” finish and a buzzer-beating reverse layup off Moore’s handoff.

Hurley finished with 22 points, and Moore added 17 points and 18 rebounds while Motara had 16 points and seven assists off the bench.

Lovell led Sonics with 17 points and King had 13.

Earlier, David Walkes had a game-high 18 points and nine rebounds in his top-flight debut as NexGen Tridents stunned Burger King Clapham Bulls 73-57 in both teams’ season openers.

Kiserian Adams added 18 points and 14 boards while Rasheed Maynard also scored 18 to lead the schoolboys to their first season-opening win in nearly a decade.

Kelan Phillips led Bulls with 16 points and ten rebounds, former Lakers forward Jae Harris scored 11 and Halley Franklyn added ten points. (JM)