BACK-TO-BACK CHAMPS: Pan American International Insurance Warrens Sports Club successfully defended their BABA First Division Knockout title to reign again as champions against a strong challenge from Police during the finals, which was held over the weekend at the Barbados Community College.
Once again Peter Alleyne led from the front with 21 points. On this play, he outran the defence down the floor, finishing silkily at the hoop.
A team-high 23 points was on the cards for Zahir Motara after hitting 3 treys in the first quarter.
Experienced Warrens lift back-to-back Knockout titles
Against a big and physical side like Police Sports Club, the asset of having experienced players with a high IQ for basketball was the winning factor for the Pan American International Insurance Warrens Sports Club as they raised the First Division Knockout trophy for a second straight year.
Two Barbados Amateur Basketball Association First Division titles are nothing to scoff at, especially in the Knockout competition where one must go unbeaten to ascend to the top. Warrens defeated Police 80-69 in a keenly anticipated matchup at the Barbados Community College. Many hoped that it would be a competitive final between the youthful Police team against Warrens, which carried at least five veterans who were former National players and also some former Premier League players.
After the first few minutes of the game, it could be seen that the battle was truly on. Sharp shooter Zahir Motara was lighting it up from beyond the arc, while at the other end his Warrens teammates Peter Alleyne and Kevin Austin had their hands full with Nicholai Williams of Police. Motara smoked three treys in the quarter to start the game with nine points while Williams was playing well in the paint, with his midrange jumpers and put backs from offensive rebounds, to finish the quarter with 10.
The second quarter started with Warrens up by one, 17-16 and they kept pushing at Police even though it looked effortless at times. Alleyne turned up the pace in two ways for Warrens, any rebound he grabbed himself, immediately he went full tilt down the court or he let loose a long pass to a running Motara. The two helped Warrens stretch the lead to 39-35 by halftime. Williams was still scoring at the other end and that was the only reason that Police were still in with a chance.
Well they were in with a chance until they went away from what was working. Without good reason, his teammates stopped trying to get the ball to Williams. Warrens had packed the key to try to stop the entry pass, but many times Williams moved into a good position to receive the ball but waited in vain. He had a solitary one point in the third. Warrens was still rolling though, with Alleyne scoring nine and Javid Beckles six in the quarter as they ended the third up 60-48.
Andre Stoute of Police has been one of the top players for the team during the season, but a wheelbarrow of blocks was all he received in the Warrens key in the first quarter from Pearson Griffith. He found himself out of sorts after that except for the final quarter while Griffith was on the bench. He had nine of his 11 points in the last period from attacking the hoop non-stop. But though Police outscored Warrens by one and went down fighting, it was all over by the two-minute mark with Warrens passing the ball smartly to kill the clock. Williams scored a game-high 26 points and for Warrens Alleyne scored 23, Javid Beckles 15, Griffith 10 and Austin 8.
Two titles in a row for the club with Keith King, General Manager of the Pan American International Insurance Corporation, in attendance. There was little fanfare which is the norm for Warrens, but smiles were all around long after the trophy was accepted.
The next step is the League title and Motara, who had a team-high 23, said it best.
“We have a team full of former National and Premier League players, who all know their roles and there is little to no quarrelling. Every time we step on the court, we come to win. Every time I step on the court, I aim to do my best.”
Once they all remain healthy, it is a high possibility, with that mentality, they could do the double.