Ravens win again – hold off Jets in Linden thriller
Watched by a very vocal capacity crowd at the Mackenzie Sports Club Hard Court Saturday night, the Georgetown-based Ravens defeated Amelia’s Ward Jets 65–61 to lift the Trophy Stall silverware in the Jets Basketball Exchange Classic.
In the supporting game of the evening, Kashif and Shanghai Kings made light work of Retrieve Raiders, trashing them 70–49 to cart off the Major Sports Centre trophy. The basketball crazed community of Linden was entertained from jump-ball by the two teams as they were never a dull moment in the 40 minute encounter.
For the want of bettering themselves and some different taste of competition, the two sides met in a friendly clash but made it absolutely clear that either of them will settle for nothing less than a win.
Ravens headed to the Mining Town already having a perfect start to the year, winning two tournaments, the Phillip George Memorial and the Albert Bentick Championship, while the Jets have been finishing in the runners-up spot over the last year, most recently in the LABA Malta Supreme Championship.
Jets point guard, Rodwell Pellew got the crowd going early when he opened the game with a three pointer, then Shane Webster finished in the paint to give the home side a 5–0 lead early but national point guard, Rodwell ‘Kobe’ Fortune lit one up from ‘down-town’ then Ryan Stephney who poured in a game high 22 points, rallied his team-mates effort to bring the visitors back in the contest.
The first quarter ended with Ravens taking a 16–11 points lead in the game, however the home crowd stood and cheered their Jets side, who responded with 15–7 early in the second.
Ravens had no answer for forward, Devon Thompson and the Webster brothers’ combo of Shane and Allister as the Jets took 26–23 point lead at half time, much to the delight of the crowd at hand.
The seesaw battle between the two sides continued through out the third quarter but then Stephney, the eventual Most Valuable Player (MVP), carried his team’s scoring and caused some amount of trouble for the Jets defence.
Akeem Kanhai, a Linden native who also was a former player of the Jets received thunderous applause from the crowd when he was introduced in the game line up, but those cheers turned to boos as the game progress since he was a nuisance playing the guard position.
Kanhai would eventually finish the game with 14 points most of which were scored in the second half when he teamed up with Stephney to reap havoc on the Jets back court.
Jets won the hearts of their supporters for their spirited all-round team performance with their centre Shane Webster leading their charges, pounding away on the Ravens in the paint. Kanhai scored six crucial points for the Ravens who were down 58 – 55 with just about two minutes remaining in the game but the Jets lacked the finishing touch to claim bragging rights.
The home side allowed Ravens to control the last two minutes of the game at both ends of the floor coupled with a good bench rotation by Darcel Harris to win the contest and the Trophy.
Apart from Stephney and Kanhai, Rodwell Fortune is the only other Ravens player to score double digits, netting 12 points. Shane Webster was the Jets top scorer with 18 points, as Keon Cameron and Devon Thompson both shot 11 points.
After the game, the crowd was entertained with some breathtaking dunks by Tyron Hamid who wooed them with stuff never before seen locally.
The Jets and Ravens basketball club together thanked Trophy Stall, Major Sports Centre and Ansa McAl under their Stag Beer brand, for making their encounter possible.