Last year’s finalist, Royals emphatically begin campaign
- Linden Zone Final on tonight at the MSC Court
Royals ensured that they were back in contention for the $1M first place prize Wednesday night at the Mackenzie Sports Club (MSC) Court in the Mackeson Smooth Moves 3-on-3 Basketball Contest when they comfortably topped what was easily the most competitive group in the Zone.
Royals, who was a finalist last year against Pacesetters ‘A’, is a youthful combination of Marlon Pollydore, Chris Williams, Harold Adams and Alwyn Rodney. The quartet was clinical against a host of seasoned players and teams in the Mining Town.
With five games to play in a group of six teams, Royals opened their 2012 sojourn to a million bucks winner-take-all against Team Hova, beating the team 20-11. Kevin ‘Two Feet’ Joseph and his Jets # 1, who finished second in the group, then dismissed Old Skool 12-7 to set up a head-on collision among the two best teams in group and the game of the night.
They both had a lengthy rest as Backcourt Warriors beat Team Hova 21-5 and Old Skool took on Assassins in a game that finished 13-13, and had to have a shootout to end a deadlock; Assassins won, handing Old Skool their second straight defeat and the possibility of elimination.
Royals and Jets # 1 then battled in a clash of the titans in the group with Adams, a forward, doing an excellent job keeping the mighty Shane Webster of Jets in check in the paint. Royals young guards also kept Joseph off the ball, balancing the entertaining duel.
The 15-minute game finished 8-8 setting up a tie-break. Adams nailed the free-throw and Joseph missed his to give Royals the win. Royals then went 4-0 when they beat Backcourt Warriors 10-9. They lost their fifth game to Assassins in a tie-breaking shootout.
Royals finished with a similar 4-1 record like Jets but topped the group because they defeated Jets. Assassins and Backcourt Warriors tied for the third spot with three wins each. With three of the teams advancing from the group, Backcourt and Assassins had to shoot for the third spot with Royals and Jets already through.
Backcourt, who were seemingly out of contention, squeezed through when they made their shots at the free-throw line ahead of Assassins. The three teams, along with the top two teams from the group last Friday, will play tonight in the Linden Zone Finals. The top two teams from tonight will move on to the National Round-of-16 drawn from around the country. (Edison Jefford)