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Smaller Bajan team give in to Guyana

JUSTIN MARVILLE, [email protected]

Smaller Bajan team give in  to Guyana

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BARBADOS are already missing their star big men.

“Small and fast” haven’t quite worked out for the men’s basketball national programme just yet, as Saturday’s select trial squad got hammered in the paint en route to a series-levelling 70-64 defeat to Guyana at the Wildey Gym.

Playing without pro players Akeem Marsh, Kregg Jones and John Jones, Barbados’ lack of size was painfully evident after the hosts surrendered 25 offensive rebounds and 17 second chance points to a similarly undersized and inexperienced opponent.

And nowhere was that more glaring than the fourth quarter, where Guyana extended no less than ten of their possessions to close out the contest on a game-winning 20-10 rally.

It was a rather disturbing sign for an up and down home side looking to finalise its roster ahead of the upcoming FIBA AmeriCup 2021 Caribbean Pre-Qualifier in Suriname.

There still were positives to take away from the contest, such as Keefe Birkett’s return to form following a season-long shooting slump and Joel Hunte’s promising play off the bench.

But there was little else to be pleased about, particularly in the fourth after the visitors accounted for all but two of the period’s first 15 points in a lead-changing run.

Staring down the barrel of a 2-0 series loss, Shaine Webster seemingly pulled down every one of Guyana’s subsequent misses off the glass despite Barbados’ best efforts.

And gifted guard Stanton Rose thrived as a result, scoring three drives and a big trey off those extra possessions to turn a 54-50 deficit into Guyana’s 63-58 cushion.

The hosts did rally though, making the contest a one-possession game (66-64) at one point following layups from Mark Bridgeman and Jamar “Spanner” Headley.

Captain Jeremy Gill and Jamai Puckerin then hit four free throws between them as Barbados threatened to regain the lead.

However, they never got any closer the rest of the way after failing to finish off defensive possessions by securing the rebound.

On one play alone Guyana got three offensive rebounds before successive Bajan turnovers resulted in an uncontested dunk for Moe Anthony.

It wasn’t anything like the start to the game though, as the home side actually kept Guyana off the boards for the most part in an otherwise scrappy first quarter performance.

Barbados struggled to score though, only managing a mere 14 first-quarter points despite having veterans like Gill, Birkett and Charles Vanderpool on the floor.

But the sharpshooting Birkett came to life in the second, converting two triples and a pair of knifing drives to put the hosts up by as many as six (34-28).

Guyana simply refused to go away though, particularly Anthony, who proved a terror around the ring for the smaller Bajans.

The towering forward scored two free throws and a long jumper before one of his missed dunk attempts slipped and fell in the ring as he was fouled.

He finished with 13 points, Rose added 11, while Harold Adams led the visitors with 15.

Birkett and Gill had 15 and 13 points respectively for Barbados. The series was slated to conclude last night at the same venue.

Earlier, guard Kurt Lambert had ten of his game-high 22 points in the fourth quarter to lead the First Division schoolboys’ squad to an 81-74 victory over a select Barbados women’s side.

Backcourt mate Simeon Maynard added 18 while NCAA Division I player and Oklahoma State University Cowboys forward Skakila Small led Barbados with 19 points.

National captain Toni Atherley chipped in with 17 points. (JM)