Warriors sweep Pine to finals
No broom? No problem. Warriors used a special spanner instead to complete the sweep.
Jamar “Spanner” Headley had 36 points, as Hilton Barbados Warriors finally made it back to the Premier League finals via Thursday’s series-clinching 86-80 Game 2 win over KFC Orange 3 Pinelands in the Co-Operators General Insurance Basketball Playoffs at the Barbados Community College.
It’s the first time in 13 years that the Dayrells Road men will be appearing in the championship series after losing the 2005 finals to Station Hill Cavaliers.
Yet these Warriors look like a team of destiny, particularly after sweeping a star-studded Pine side that went to the last five finals and featured five national players.
Defending champs Lumber Company Lakers didn’t suffer Pinelands’ fate though, having forced a deciding Game 3 tonight by beating rivals Station Hill Cavaliers 81-62 in the night’s first game.
But all the talk was centred around Warriors, especially Headley, who was downright dominant while scoring those 36 points on just 18 shots in a postseason performance for the ages.
Nowhere was that more evident than in the second quarter where the MVP frontrunner personally accounted for 11 straight Warriors points as part of a run that gave his team a 32-16 cushion.
However, Pinelands responded with a rally of their own, scoring ten unanswered points after national captain Jeremy Gill got his defender in the air for an “and-one” play and then leaked out for an easy layup.
Gill subsequently hooked up with Barbados teammate Junior Moore in a lovely pick-and-roll before Ramon Simmons kept the deficit to single digits by burying a buzzer-beating triple (44-36) at the horn.
Pinelands actually made it a one-possession game (47-44) on back-to-back treys from Zahir Motara on the other side of the break until Pile answered with two triples two and a tap-in to restore Warriors’ double-digit lead (56-46).
They even took the lead briefly in the fourth when Simmons threw Kareem Farrell to the floor with a vicious right-to-left crossover to hit a step-back three-pointer (69-66).
But Justin Pile came right back with a go-ahead trey of his own after converting a layup and tap-in at the ring.
Headley then followed with two quick baskets at the ring and Tremaine Shaw hit a big jumper to give Warriors a decisive 82-74 lead down the stretch.
Gill made the game close again though, splitting two defenders for a layup before converting two free throws (83-80) in a late one-possession game with one minute left.
However, Pinelands gave up three offensive rebounds on the very next play and Headley’s two free throws sealed the deal.
Pile finished with 18 points and Nicholai Williams added 15 points and 14 rebounds while Simmons led the Pine with 22 points.
Earlier, reigning league MVP Keefe Birkett finally broke out of a season-long shooting slump to have 29 points, six rebounds and seven assists in the champs’ wire-to-wire Game 2 win.
Lakers jumped out to a 16-2 advantage before leading by as many as 18 (43-25) in the first half.
The Cavs did rally at one stage, threatening to get within single digits (59-49) digits early in the fourth quarter before Kelvin Patterson was the beneficiary of two questionable calls.
It all unravelled from there as Station Hill picked up three quick technicals and two unsportsmanlike fouls thereafter that saw Lakers close the contest with a 21-12 run.
Jehu Lafeuille and John Jones added 14 points apiece while Granville Gittens led the Cavs with 16. (JM)