– set up rampage with Colts for Forbes Burnham title
By Edison Jefford
Linden’s Half Mile Bulls trampled National Champions, Pacesetters Saturday night at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall to set up a final rampage with Georgetown-based Colts for the inaugural Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation (GABF) Forbes Burnham Memorial title.
Except for brief bouts of an interchange of the lead in the last half, Bulls controlled most of the game to trod away with a 91-85 victory, arguably the Linden club’s biggest surprise win, against Guyana’s most formidable opposition, the current national champs.
National junior and senior guard/forward, Terron Welch was sensational from beyond the arch and in transition. Welch was unstoppable offensively, pouring in 35 points for Bulls to lead the underdogs to the huge upset.
Former Pacesetters forward, originally from Linden, Michael Turner, returned to the fold to support with 13 points as the complete team effort, with the simple things done to perfection like passing the ball and finding the open man, overwhelming Pacesetters.
National point guard, Travis Burnett and forward, Randy Richardson were both good enough for 14 points while Royston Siland had nine points. Richardson and Siland dominated the ‘board’ in the game, but that was not enough to stave off the raging Bulls.
Pacesetters should have known from the beginning of the game that it was no walkover as Bulls managed to burst through the many defensive knots that threatened to ensnare them. The Linden team went up 21-19 at the end of the first period.
Bulls again outscored Pacesetters in the second quarter to take a 48-42 lead at halftime that was extended following the break when Welch landed another of his daggers from downtown to give his team a double-digit lead early in the penultimate period.
However, Pacesetters went back to their clear advantage in the contest; no Bull seemed able to contain Siland and Richardson on the glass. The ‘big man’ game got Pacesetters going on a 12-2 run that put them up 54-53 midway through the quarter.
But Welch drilled another three-pointer to return the momentum to Linden before Richardson got the equaliser off the glass from the baseline. So it was in the third quarter, tied at 56 with 4:11 to go. The teams exchanged points with Pacesetters holding on to a 66-64 lead at the end of clearly the best quarter in the game, the only one Pacesetter would win.
The fourth quarter was the Welch show. Down 65-68, he drained a huge jumper from the left arch at the southern end of the court with his defender’s full hand in his face. It did not end there; the swingman drained another dagger to give Bulls a 77-72 advantage with six minutes to play in the final quarter.
Burnett, always a threat, led Pacesetters on a 7-2 recovery that levelled the scores at 79 with his usual magic in the paint. The exchange continued until Turner seemingly knocked the wind out of Pacesetters sail with a jumper from beyond the arch.
The shot put Bulls up 84-81 with three minutes to play. Pacesetters never recovered. Bulls went on to outscore them 7-4 in crunch-time to take the win and set up a Georgetown vs Linden dream final Saturday night at the Mackenzie Sports Club (MSC) Hard Court in Linden.
The final was scheduled for last night at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall, but in a GABF circular yesterday, the federation informed that owed to “miscommunication” with the National Sports Commission (NSC) on the procurement of the venue, the final and third place games were shifted to MSC Hard Court in Linden.
Linden’s Victory Valley Royals will play Georgetown’s Pacesetters in the third place game that will precede the final in the Town named after the man in whose honour the tournament is being held, former President, the late Linden Forbes Sampson Burnham.
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