– disenchanted Pacesetters surrender title
By Edison Jefford
It was informally established without credible debates Saturday night that a Georgetown team on its way to the Mackenzie Sports Club court for a basketball championship game is like a prisoner being condemned to Guantanamo Bay without trial.
Defending Brusche’s Basketball Champions, Courts Pacesetters were imprisoned in Linden with a little chance of parole when they played national champions Wismar Pistons. The Georgetown and Linden rivalry went beyond the referees.
The invisible judge eventually ruled and after an extensive break that followed many scuffles on the court, Pistons came away with 70-56 points win after Pacesetters led 30-29 when the second quarter ended and 45-44 after the third period.
Pistons had a better all round game that would have produced the end result anyway without the obvious input of the referees, FIBA accredited Sherwin Henry and Elias Noel. There has to be a point when administrators will draw the line.
Most Valuable Player and Best Defensive awardee, Quincy Jones scored 22 points while Trevor Profitt added 19 points. Mark Louis and Nevin Grenville were also among the points for Pistons with 16 and 10 points respectively in the final.
Courts Naylon Loncke had 24 points in a solo effort for his team with ‘big man’ Horace Hodges putting up 17 points for the former champions. Pacesetters’ guard, Hugh Arthur was awarded the ‘Most Assists’ prize as his team pocketed $60,000.
Pistons took home the lions’ share of $100,000 and a championship trophy while Ravens brought five players alone that they called the ‘Phantom Five’ for the third place game, which they easily won 79-62 against Bulls and received $40,000 as a result.
Ryan Gullen was the main scorer for Ravens with 21 points while Kevin Lawrence had 17 points and Seraiah Clarke and Jermaine Slater adding 14 points each. The other member of the Phantom Five, Darcel Harris, finished with eight points.
Ruel McKinnon had 13 points for Bulls with Mark Rose and Sean Lewis adding 11 and 10 points respectively in a game that set the stage for a gruelling final showdown. Pacesetters support came from Ravens as Lindeners wholeheartedly backed Pistons.
Both Pistons and Pacesetters took sometime before their offensive plan worked against tidy zone defences. Profitt landed a huge three-point jump shot to initiate Pistons offence that piloted them to a 7-0 lead in the first five minutes of the first quarter. Loncke used his experience and ‘big game temperament’ to offensively hold Pacesetters together with a few classical dribble penetrations from the parameter. Pistons led the first quarter 11-16 as the break ensued and Pacesetters huddled for strategies.
It was a timely lull since the Georgetown-based number one seeded club came out and went with Travis Burnett at guard. The tactic took some pressure off of Loncke and the scores were levelled on 18 points with the first three minutes gone in the second.
However, Pistons were prepared for battle and Profitt was up for the responsibility. The forward landed a big three point jumper and contributed to a fast break lay-up to put Piston in front with five minutes left before halftime. It was the start of drama.
First, Pacesetters’ Clement Brusche got an intentional elbow to his face that restricted him to the concrete for some seconds. Henry was not too far from the incident but no call was made for the action that amounted to a flagrant or technical foul.
Then it was Arthur. The guard got a knee in his stomach on a fast break play that took him about approximately five minutes to recover as he lay flat on his back. Again the referees made no call and the intentional hitting was enough to bitter a good final.
Loncke and Hodges continued to pry away at Pistons. The two players gave Pacesetters a 30-27 points lead in the final minute before halftime but Vivian Alder squandered a possession that the Pistons capitalised on to add two to their score.
When the whistle blew to summon both teams onto the court for the final half Pacesetters were a bit hesitant to answer the call since they were contemplating abandoning the game. The team felt that too many calls were unreasonably going against them.
However, with the prompting of their Ravens counterparts, the Courts unit went back in with the game. Pistons as in the first two periods, raced ahead with a 39-35 points lead but Loncke in the middle gave Pacesetters back the lead at 41-39 in the third.
Pacesetters maintained the one-point lead at the end of the period. Pistons were playing their best game, which demanded more balance from the referees. The point is that Pistons did not need the referees’ help to win the game-they were playing well enough.
The scores were levelled 47-47 early in the final period and both teams exchanged the lead when Pistons went up 56-51 with a Profitt ‘And-One’ finish. Then Jones helped the team to 58-51 after Loncke drilled a huge three-point jumper to cut the lead.
With a thrilling final three minutes ahead, a Guinness bottle was thrown on the court from within the vicinity of Pacesetters’ bench. Officials in Linden then blamed Ravens for the offence since a tent housed them close to where Pacesetters were sitting.
The incident took some time to resolve as many scuffles overshadowed the final. When the game resumed, Jones brought down the level of the encounter with his ‘And-One’ antics that were not supposed to have been allowed in the normal basketball.
Again the referees made no call. ‘And-One’ dribbles mostly amount to double-dribbling and the call should have been made but Henry just watched the play and sucked his whistle. Pacesetters, more-or-less, went through the motions until the final whistle.
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