Mar 28, 2013 Sports
– crowned New Era Champs
By Edison Jefford
Green and yellow kaleidoscopes fused onto an ancient concrete space in the Mining Town where epic battles had unfolded for decades. Amelia’s Ward Jets with its signature green and Kings with its yellow enticed scores of enthusiasts to the MSC Hard-Court.
Their purpose: to witness another colossal showdown between two teams desperate to establish a dynasty status in basketball in Linden. It took overtime to eventually decide the winner of what can be called an evenly contested New Era Entertainment/Cell Smart Final Tuesday night.
Kings commanded a 66-62 overtime triumph, which FIBA-accredited referee, Sherwin ‘Bakes’ Henry left his imprints on with suspect calls in crunch-time. However, minus ‘Bakes’, the game lived up to every expectation of a Championship contest.
Marvin Hartman scored 24 points for Kings while Omally Sampson and Orin Rose Jr. scored 11 points each and Steve Neils Jr. 10 points in a herculean effort down the stretch, after Jets sailed to a 13-point lead near the end of the third quarter of regulation time.
Point Guard, Kevin ‘Two Feet’ Joseph scored 18 points while national forward, Shane Webster had 17 points for Jets that had several opportunities to put the game away. Kings grounded them on their offensive end with intense man-defence from Zico Hamid.
Both Kings and Jets were undefeated at the end of the preliminary phase of the competition that gave patrons immense entertainment. Jets took a 54-41 points lead after Joseph, Rodwell Pellew and Neil Simon lit up the MSC court from three-point range.
Neils and Hartman struggled from beyond the arc in the third quarter as Jets excellent rotation of the ball and dominance of Webster brothers in the paint shut Kings out in the preliminary quarter of regulation time. The green machinery thought they had the game.
However, back-to-back three-pointers from Rose in the fourth period with 3:11 left, cut Jets once 13-point lead to three points. The game was on; the green and yellow kaleidoscopes could not be contained to the wooden bleachers that border the court.
A classic behind-the-back pass from Neils Jr. led to and And1 finish that equalised 58-58 points with 1:17 left in game. The drama continued when Joseph buried one of two free-throws to give Jets a one-point lead with less than a minute to play in regulation.
Then a dubious call from ‘Bakes’ seem to gift-wrap the game for Kings when Neils landed both free-throws for a 60-59 Kings lead with 21 seconds left in the game. However, Jets got reprieve when Webster buried one of two from the line to ensure overtime. Jets’ fuel ran out in the extra time, allowing Kings the come-from-behind win.
Kings won $200,000 as a result while Jets won $100,000. Royals defeated Raiders 62-56 to take the third place prize of $75,000 while Raiders took home $25,000 for fourth. Hamid was judged the ‘Best Defensive Player’ and received a Mountain Bike compliment of Bobby Noel General Store.
Block 22 Flames was the ‘Most Disciplined Team’ and received $40,000 from Linden’s leading online information source, Guymine.com. Rose rode off with a motorcycle from Bakewell after he was adjudged ‘Most Valuable Player’ of the tournament.
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