Pine end Cavs’ streak
Station Hill are unbeaten no more.
Zahir Motara scored 23 points, including a pair of clutch free throws, as KFC Orange 3 Pinelands handed the Cavs their first loss of the Co-operators General Insurance Basketball Premier League via Thursday’s 86-84 thriller at the Barbados Community College.
It brought a rather dramatic end to the Cavs’ five-game winning streak during which they looked almost invincible at times, especially in statement wins over Lakers and Warriors and a 70-point blowout of St John’s.
And the run was even more impressive considering it capped a stretch of 17 straight regular season games won by Station Hill dating back to last year.
But Pinelands had their own streak to worry about after losing two games in a row in the absence of injured national captain Jeremy Gill.
Motara made up the slack this time, though, drilling a go-ahead trey before scoring a fast-break layup and two late free throws (85-82) with 14 seconds left.
Ian Alexander then had a chance to seal the deal after Jason Smith split free throws (85-83), but he too went one-of-two from the line (86-83) to leave the door wide open. Station Hill nearly made him pay, too, after grabbing the offensive rebound when Dwayne Kellman intentionally missed the second of his two ensuing free throws. However, the Cavs’ potential game-winner came after the buzzer and fell dreadfully short.
It was a fitting finish to a wild fourth quarter that saw Pinelands lead by as many as 11 (66-55) after they closed out the third on a 16-7 run. But Darren Hunte engineered a lead-changing 17-4 Cavs rally by sandwiching a one-handed dunk in transition with two big three-pointers.
Granville Gittens then capped the run with a tip-in and an up-and-under post move despite getting fouled on the play.
Motara retaliated with that trey, though, and Alexander followed with a triple as part of a flurry that included three free throws and a two-handed flush to put Pinelands up 83-78 with a minute left.
Yet the Cavs refused to go away quietly, as Kellman and Gittens had quick baskets between them before forcing Moore into a wild shot with 12 seconds remaining.
However, Hunte couldn’t convert a tough layup at the ring over Charles Vanderpool, forcing Station Hill to foul Motara to extend the contest.
Vanderpool finished with 16 points, Alexander scored 13 and Moore had 11 points and 16 rebounds for the Pine (3-2).Saeed Norville led Station Hill (5-1) with 16 points, Gittens added 15 points and ten rebounds and Hunte scored 14 points.
Earlier, Jimal Singh led six players in double digits with 19 points as defending champions Lumber Company Lakers picked up their fourth straight win by routing St John’s Sonics 88-50. John Jones added 14 points for Lakers (4-1), Mark Bridgeman and Ricardo Jemmott both scored 12 and Keefe Birkett chipped in with 11.
Romaine Lovell was the lone player in double digits for St John’s (1-5), finishing with 12 points and 12 rebounds. (JM)