St Barnabas pick off UWI
Netball knockout queens Pine Hill Dairy St Barnabas avenged their first-round loss to UWI Blackbirds to keep on course for double crown glory when the Division One netball league continued at the Netball Stadium on Friday.
In Round 1, Blackbirds had pipped St Barnabas by one goal and the first two quarters on Friday night hinted that another close battle was on the cards. However, after trailing 11-12 and 25-26, St Barnabas enjoyed an explosive third quarter to outscore the Blackbirds 15-7 leading to a blowout 50-41 victory.
Goal shoot Shonica Wharton (26/34) and goal attack Rieah Holder (15/23), enjoying one of her better games, caused St Barnabas some early concerns particularly when Blackbirds led 18-12, 20-14 and 23-15 in the second quarter.
However, three-time Under-16 Caribbean MVP Sheniqua Thomas (18/23) played a superb game to pull St Barnabas within one shot at the end of the second quarter.
Similarly, goal shoot Laurel Browne, who shot a game-high 32 goals from 42 attempts, constantly broke the defence of Blackbirds’ Shanice Wharton and Shanice Rock to draw the duo away from the circle to then move back and score or to allow Thomas the honour.
That tactic triggered Blackbirds’ customary third-quarter meltdown as after starting with a 26-25 edge the UWI team did not sink another goal until St Barnabas had taken charge 33-27. The closest Blackbirds would get afterwards was within four goals (32-36), thanks to a long-range shot from Holder.
While the offence of both teams was almost matching, Blackbirds could not equal St Barnabas in centre court and defence. In fact, St Barnabas played the same seven for the entire game – Browne, Thomas, Samantha Browne at wing attack, Cherese Seale, centre, Vanessa Bobb, wing defence, Jeneice Clarke, goal defence and Shonette Bruce, goal keeper.
Except for a positional switch between Samantha Browne and Seale in the third quarter, St Barnabas’ Clarke and Bruce were awesome at defence while Seale, Browne and Bobb maintained the midcourt edge.
UWI stuttered in centre court with Damisha Croney not at her best. Jalisa Lovell at wing attack was also below par and by the time she was replaced in the fourth quarter it was too late.
After folding in the third quarter UWI only acted in the fourth, bringing in Alicia for Jehlesal Brathwaite and Mechelle Liburd for Lovell which was too late to stop the Browne/Thomas combination.
The victory moved St Barnabas’ record to 3-1 with 16 points, the same record as defending champions C.O. Williams Rangers.
The Blackbirds are 2-2 with 12 points and they will meet Rangers tomorrow. Rangers had edged Blackbirds by one goal in the first round. (KB)
BRC Welch Rovers defeated Pine & Wildey 29-26.
Pine Hill Dairy St Barnabas defeated Checker Hall Braves 31-23.
Shottas United defeated Beverley Hill 31-0.
Police Girls’ Club defeated Newbury All Stars 29-16.
Guardian Pride of Villa defeated Hot Spurs 23-14.