By Edison Jefford
Basketball pundits and enthusiasts could not have predicted a better Inter-Ward Basketball final than Albouystown/Charlestown taking on Wortmanville/Werk-En-Rust in what is expected to be a gruelling physical showdown for the 2013 title beginning Friday.
Both teams have similar ‘hard nose’ (rough) backgrounds from South Georgetown, and reached the final after wins Sunday night in the penultimate round of the competition. In the first game, defending champs, Albouystown/Charlestown beat Alberttown/Bourda 62-49 to return to familiar territory.
Collis ‘Forty’ Pluck, who had a massive quarterfinal game, continued to be the main man for his team with 21 points and five rebounds while Joel Ifill scored 12 points and collected a mammoth 22 rebounds, which was the most in the tournament to-date.
Forward, Yannick December scored 12 points for Alberttown/Bourda that had upset Melanie to reach the semi-finals. Kevin ‘Micey’ Cumberbatch and Olatunde Griffith scored 11 points apiece to support December, who had also led his team against Melanie.
In the featured game of the Mackeson-sponsored Trinity Grid Holdings (TGH) Pacesetters Inter-Ward Championships Sunday night, Wortmanville/Werk-En-Rust ensured that they will play the indomitable Albouystown in the best-of-three final after a close 80-78 win against the offensive Plaisance/Vryheid’s Lust in the other semi-final.
Guard/forward, Michael Turner had a massive game for Wortmanville with 28 points and eight rebounds, while Joslyn Crawford and Randy Richardson had 16 points apiece, grabbing eight and 14 points respectively; Naylon Loncke scored 10 points as well.
For Plaisance/Vryheid’s Lust, guard, Ron Campbell had a double-double with 23 points and 12 rebounds, while Ryan Gullen and Shelroy Thomas had 14 points each, with Gullen grabbing 18 rebounds and blocking six shots; Enoch Mathews had 11 points.
As expected, Plaisance rushed the ball up the court in the first quarter with Mathews landing the jumpers and finishing inside plays; Nikkoloi Smith drove the ball inside for a 15-7 lead midway through the period, but Turner landed a huge three-pointer to cut lead.
Thomas then finished an up-and-under layup for a 19-13 Plaisance lead with two minutes to play in the initial period of the game, which Plaisance controlled until the closing minutes of the final quarter.
Smith landed a huge three-pointer that maintained a 22-13 lead, but the quick 7-0 run from Wortmanville hauled them to within two points as the quarter ended 23-22 in favour of Plaisance.
The East Coast based-Plaisance ran a man-to-man defensive system early in the second quarter that forced three turnovers from Wortmanville. Thomas extended their lead with a huge top-of-the-key three-pointer for a 10-point (34-24) lead five minutes before halftime.
Wortmanville’s Loncke and Shawn Gillis and Plaisance’s Stephan Gillis exchanged missiles in the closing minutes before halftime from three-point range, but Plaisance still managed to come out with 44-39 points’ lead midway through the deciding game.
Both teams exchanged offence in the third period with Wortmanville hauling to within one point of Plaisance (51-52), but Thomas and Campbell led Plaisance to a 60-53 lead with three minutes to play in the penultimate quarter that ended 66-59 in favour of Plaisance.
However, after losing the three quarters before, Wortmanville literally went to the streets for Plaisance in a gritty and tough display of basketball that obviously slowed the momentum of Plaisance, who struggled against Wortmanville’s physicality.
Consecutive inside plays from Wortmanville through put-backs from Richardson gave them their first lead of the game at 71-70; Turner finished an And1 play for a further 74-70 lead. However, Thomas drilled a big three-pointer to level the scores at 75 and set up a final two minutes of very entertaining basketball.
The scores remained locked at 76 then Loncke and Richardson went to work inside again to give Wortmanville the win. The nippy Plaisance unit that had scored in excess of 100 points twice in the tournament were visibly dumbfounded after Wortmanville snatched victory from them with a physical display of basketball that was foreign to them.
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