Weary Central Mackenzie through to semis
By Edison Jefford
A tiring Central Mackenzie were lucky to escape an offensive onslaught from the Kwakwani ‘Big Three’ Saturday night in Linden to set up a semi-final showdown with Diamond/McDoom in the National Community Basketball League (NCBL).
The Central Mackenzie ‘Dream Team’ with national players, Shane Webster, Orin Rose, Akeem Kanhai, Kevin Joseph, Neil Marks, Marvin Hartman and Steve Neils Jr. at its core, won 61-54 at the Mackenzie Sports Club (MSC) Court Saturday night.
Webster had 12 points with Omally Sampson scoring seven points to lead the scoring for Central Mackenzie. Lawrence DeCosta, Kanhai and Marks had six points each to support the ‘Dream Team’ that took on Diamond/McDoom in one of two semi-finals last night at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall.
Kwakwani’s ‘Big Three’, all guards, Shelroy Thomas, Dave Causway and Marlon Chesney held their own even with little support in the paint. Thomas scored 15 points, Causway 14 points and Stanton Rose added 13 points with Chesney the lead play-maker.
The game was off to a relatively slow offensive start on both ends, but it was Central Mackenzie that jumped out to an early lead in the game. The team that is perhaps the deepest of all the Final Four teams led 24-8 with five minutes left before halftime.
But Thomas and his cohorts wore down Central Mackenzie in the ensuing minutes before the break with a 14-2 run that left them panting for breath as they await their prolonged rest. There was no answer from Central Mackenzie for Kwakwani’s running game.
In one of the many highlights of the night, Causway drew three defenders, faked them left then dished a no-look pass to Chesney, who finished a left-handed up-and-under lay-up that sparked loud cheers from the sport-savvy crowd at the MSC venue.
Central Mackenzie went to the halftime break leading 29-25. They regrouped in the third period with lots of work for Webster inside. They got off to a 16-3 run early that reinforced the already known fact that they were the superior side in the contest.
They closed out the third period healthily ahead and resorted to conserving their energy that was already exhausted in the fourth. Leading 56-44 with three minutes left in the game, they suffered a mini scare when Thomas landed some big threes.
However, the effort was not enough to beat the talented Central Mackenzie that contended with Travis ‘Blurr’ Burnett, Ryan Stephney, Jermaine Slater, Horace Hodges, Rodwell Fortune and Mark Richards from Diamond/McDoom in a major showdown last night.