Terrence James hammered the nails in Plaisance Guardians’ coffin with two clutch free-throws with mere seconds left on the game clock Saturday night to give Half Mile Bulls an unlikely victory in the opening game of the Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation (GABF) Forbes Burnham Memorial Championships.
With 9.3 seconds left on the clock and the score locked at 75-73 in favour of Bulls, James drilled the free-throws to give his team a 77-73 upset win at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall.
Guardians squandered their opportunity on possession in their haste to inbound the ball when they conceded an unnecessary turnover at the centre of the court, which allowed Bulls to grind the clock out to secure the win.
National junior and senior swingman, Terron Welch led Bulls with 19 points while James supported with 16 points. Michael Turner had 10 and Kevin Easton nine points in the complete team effort.
National point guard, Nikkoloi Smith was a one-man show for Plaisance with a heroic 39 points while forward; Trenton Woolford added 16 points to support the energetic guard. Plaisance Guardians took an early lead, outscoring Bulls 19-14 in the first quarter. Smith had 13 points in the period, which set up his huge performance on the night.
However, Bulls seized control of the game in the second period, scoring 22 points to take a 36-31 lead at halftime. Mark Rose and Welch led the offensive rampage for Bulls. The Linden-based Bulls maintained their grip on the game in the third period, managing to stay ahead 56-50 in a closely fought penultimate period that set up a riveting final 10 minutes of basketball at the Sports Hall.
As Guardians struggled for complete team efforts with only Smith keeping them in the game, Bulls continued its team rotation to again outscore their opposition in the final period. Welch was the centerpiece of Bulls’ offense down the stretch, which helped his team advance to the next round of the knockout competition.
In the second game of the night, Colts continued its rapid ascendancy when it defeated Linden’s Amelia’s Ward Jets 60-54 to also advance. The winner of the inaugural Forbes Burnham Memorial will bounce away with $100,000, winner’s medals and the Championship Trophy while the second place team pockets $60,000 with the respective medals and trophy. The third place finisher will receive $40,000, medals and trophy.
The Most Valuable Player (MVP), Best Uniformed Team and Most Disciplined Team will also be rewarded.
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