CHAMPIONS AGAIN!: The Station Hill Cavaliers defeated the Barbados Lumber Company Lakers Sports Club 65-53 to take their third consecutive Knockout crown.

One of the better wing players in the Premier League Division, Darren Hunte of the Station Hill Cavaliers finishes in the lane. He had a team-high 15 points.

THREE-PEAT FOR CAVS!

They did it again. The Station Hill Cavaliers are the Barbados Amateur Basketball Association Premier League Knockout Champions for the third year in a row, after dismissing the efforts of defending League champs Barbados Lumber Company Lakers Sports Club, 65-53.

This title win reinforces the progression of the young up-and-coming Station Hill players to the higher echelons of local basketball. Coach Adrian Craigwell said as much when he spoke to The Barbados Advocate after the final whistle. He highlighted the fact that besides Dwayne Kellman and Granville Gittens, the other players had come up through the Station Hill programme. The youngsters, along with veterans like Jason Smith, Kevin Sealy and Kevin Patterson, pulled together to clinch another commanding win on Thursday night.

The game plan, according to Craigwell, was to defend the paint and the Lakers’ big men well and rebound well. Cavs believed that once they did that, their guards could outplay their opposites at the other end. It was a strategy that worked extremely well. Not only did they hold National Forwards John Jones and Kregg Jones to 7 and 4 points respectively, but the guards driving to the hoop placed John Jones in foul trouble with four fouls midway in the third quarter. Ricardo Jemmott came into the game and was more aggressive on the court, however he was unable to make much of a mark due to his lack of size against the Cavs’ defenders.

Lakers actually led at the end of the first quarter 10-20 as Cavs were finding it hard to score on the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex court. Craigwell made some early subs and that made all the difference. The game made a swift turnaround with the more versatile Saeed Norville and athletic Darren Hunte coming into the game. The offence became a better weapon especially with Kevin Patterson taking up space in the key, drawing plenty of attention. Half-time presented a slim one-point lead for Lakers 30-31, but it would be a lead that only lasted two minutes into the second half where Cavaliers took a 36-35 lead with eight minutes to play in the third.

It was a lead they never relinquished, going into the final ten minutes up 53-45. A small run by Lakers looked hopeful for the spectators for a more exciting finish, but a dagger trey from Jason Smith with three minutes left in the title game visibly deflated the Lakers squad. When the final whistle blew, there was little fanfare by the Cavaliers but it was a well-deserved victory by the team from Station Hill.

As usual it was a team effort by the Cavs with Darren Hunte top scoring with 15 points, Jason Smith had 12, Granville Gittens 11 and Saeed Norville 10. The only player who looked like he could mount his own charge against the Cavaliers was last year’s Most Valuable Player Keefe Birkett, who scored a game-high 22 points including 4 treys. His performance was good but not enough in the long run without key player Mark Bridgeman, as Lakers fell apart towards the end of the game. (AS)

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