CGI BABA Playoff Most Valuable Player Jeremy Gill accepts his award
Orange 3 Pinelands Champions Again
Thu, 06/09/2016 - 12:00am
The Orange 3 Pinelands claimed their second title in three years in convincing fashion, defeating the Station Hill Cavaliers 78-67 and rounding out the Co-operators General Insurance Barbados Amateur Basketball Association Premier Division Finals series three games to one.
It was keenly contested battle where neither team was able to show any dominance over the other throughout the game. The first few minutes of the game showed that players from both teams had a case of the nerves and turn-overs abounded as well as missed shots. Though this was the case early on, points started to flow and by the end of the first quarter all was even at 17 points. One moment that must be mentioned was by Jamai Puckerin of the Cavs who had a huge Game 3 dominating the paint and he intended to pick up where he left off. No one knows that better than Ian Alexander now. With only 4 minutes gone in the game, Puckerin received the ball from the wings low down in the blocks and with one bump towards the ring, he threw down a monster one hand slam over the doomed outstretched hand of Alexander. The crowd went wild but there was hardly any reaction from Puckerin or Alexander, probably due to the focus on the real prize, the ‘W’.
The start of the second quarter saw the Cavs come out strong, pressing the Pine guards on the wings, the created a few turn-overs which they converted at the other end. They took a 31-20 commanding lead with some good hustle plays especially by one of the smaller players on the team Kevin Sealy. Sealy drove to the ring at every opportunity given to him by the defense to either dish the ball or finish strong at the hoop. He did not always score but the defense had to react to him allowing one of his team-mates to grab the offensive rebound. The clock stood at 2:25 left in the half when Alexander almost got his revenge and drove to the basket for a two hand slam on Puckerin but he was fouled at the last moment. He went to line to convert both free throws. He did gain some form of consolation with a slam over Puckerin’s team-mate Joel Hunte later on in the quarter. The Pine was able to come back into the game with a 7-0 run to end the half to see the quarter end 31-27. The highlight of the second quarter was the fact that the floor general for the Pine, Jeremy Gill collected three quick fouls, including an offensive foul for pushing off.
It was an interesting beginning to the second half with Puckerin still having his way with the Pine defense but also Ramon Simmons and Alexander came out shooting. Pinelands was able to tie the game at 42 all and then take the lead with 4:45 to go and the score at 45-43. The Gill picked up his fourth foul with 2:20 to go in the third and had to be subbed to protect his last foul. This was the point where the Cavaliers could have taken over the game with the Pine’s biggest leader on the bench. They were not able to capitalize unfortunately and the bench for Pinelands held their own, led by Derion Hurley and Dwayne Pollard. The Pine opened up a six point lead (55-49) by the end of the period and the Cavs looked a team desperate for answers to pull the game back within reach.
Station Hill started the quarter exactly how they needed to with a 6-0 run, to tie the game with only a minute and twenty seconds gone on the clock showing their aptitude for quick scoring. The teams traded baskets, both looking to score on each possession. At 4:44 left to go in the game Gill stepped back into the fray with the Pine up four 63-59 and his first touch of the ball was called for double dribble and turned over the ball. He looked to the bench and signalled to keep calm and did not looked flustered. He remained calm and stepped up to the position that was expected of him and led his team. The Cavs were not giving up however and good aggression from Sealy and Darren Hunte got baskets and steals which kept the game close at 68-66 with 1:49 left in the contest.
It was at this point that the wheels came of the Station Hill station wagon. With the pressure of the clock winding down, the Cavaliers took rushed shots and started to play one on one basketball. While on the other end under Gill was showing why he is considered the best scoring point guard in the league. He had the last 10 points of the game for his team, including 6 free-throws and a ‘switch hand’ layup, finishing with his left over Anand Joseph Thorne. The Cavs scored 1 point in that last 1:49, a free-throw for a technical given to the Pine bench for delay of game due to stepping onto the court for early celebrations.
Gill was named the Co-operators General Insurance BABA Premier Division Playoff Most Valuable Player and ended his season with a game high 20 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals for an excellent performance. Gill was the main pillar for Pinelands, who seemed not to be able to keep it together with Gill off the floor. Gill did commend his team-mates and the bench when he spoke to the Barbados Advocate about the series and championship win after the game.
“We didn’t feel as though we lost Game 3 but instead that we were over confident and too relaxed. So we knew what we had to do. I was out with two minutes left in the third and then six minutes in the fourth and my bench who they were saying I did not have, held it down for us. They could not get past our bench.”
Ramon Simmons and Ian Alexander finished with 15 and 14 points respectively while Charles Vanderpool had 12. Derion Hurley had 7 big points and 6 rebounds for the Pine off the bench and Dwayne Pollard played well for his 4 off the bench as well. For the Cavs, Puckerin top scored with 17 and Darren Hunte had 13 with Kevin Sealy and Jason Smith adding 12 and 9.
In the end the Cavs were defeated by a better led team and will have to pick up the pieces and figure out what can be done to sort out the weaknesses for next year. One of the most obvious weaknesses was experience, which was needed for them to come out on top, not just Game 4 but also games 1 and 2 of the series. Orange 3 Pinelands deserved the title and all respect and congratulations goes to the Co-operators General Insurance BABA Premier League 2016 Champions.