Jan 19, 2016 Sports
– Nets bag Division II, Colts extend Division I contest
By Edison Jefford
Eagles swept Pacesetters 2-0 in their best-of-three series Sunday night to soar to the Georgetown Amateur Basketball Association (GABA) Under-23 League title, holding off a late surge from an intimidating
Pacesetters team at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall.
Eagles forward Travis Belgrave scored 23 points to ensure the 81-75 win. Eagles won the first of the best-of-three series Friday night at the same venue. Darroll Williams had 15 points and Kevin Higgins 13 points to support the mammoth effort from Eagles.
Guard Nathan Saul and Jaleel Duke had 23 points apiece for Pacesetters. Despite the brilliance of Saul in the game, he must be finding immense fault with his decision to throw up an unnecessary three-point attempt with his team down 73-75 and a minute to play.
That was the defining moment of the game that began with Eagles up 19-17 at the end of the first quarter. Eagles’ Williams finished a left-hand layup that led Eagles to a 12-2 run for a 32-22 lead three minutes before halftime.
However, Pacesetters ‘big man’ Roger John had two huge blocks, which resulted in outlet passes for an 8-2 offensive response. Pacesetters, Dequan Wray finished a floater off the glass to narrow the Eagles advantage 36-32 midway through the game.
Upon resumption, Keon Marks equalised 36-36 with a put-back early in the third period. But the defensive pressure that got Eagles enroute to the title, surfaced again and the result was a stumped Pacesetters that could not get it going offensively in the third period.
Higgins finished back-to-back plays for a 42-37 Eagles lead with six minutes to play. A dribble penetration and pass to Belgrave, who was left alone on the perimeter beyond the three point arc, pushed Eagles ahead further ahead.
Belgrave then finished a put-back for a 10-point lead as Pacesetters made five straight turnovers trying to rush the ball up-court in an attempt to play up-tempo basketball. It did not work. Eagles capitalised on the offensive end to edge closer to the coveted title.
However, Saul led Pacesetters on a 10-2 run to begin the final quarter that helped to within three 62-65, but Pacesetters only added four points in three minutes opposed to Eagles’ seven to set up a riveting showdown in the final minutes.
Marks drained a three-point jumper to haul within four, 71-75, lurking again as they did earlier in the quarter. Saul beautifully drove the ball to make it a two-point game; but with a minute to play Saul was drawn into temptation to attempt a three-pointer, which would have given Pacesetters a one-point (76-75) lead.
However, Saul missed the shot and surrendered possession to Eagles. The rest is now history as the young talented team flew to the U-23 title.
Similarly, Republic Bank Nets swept Pepsi Sonics in the Division II category, after winning 54-42 Sunday night. Guard, Darian Lewis scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, while Hodayah Stewart scored 13 and Mortimer Williams 10 points for Nets.
National shooting guard, Jason Squires was the lone player in double figures for Sonics with 15 points. Sonics were kept to just seven points in the final quarter compared to Nets’ 24 points that they poured in to win the Division II title.
Meanwhile, Bounty Colts and Plaisance Guardians set up a showdown for the GABA Division I Championship when Colts leveled the series 1-1 with a 77-74 victory. Guardians had won game one Friday night.
Guard Dave Causway scored 21 points and centre Shane Webster 17 points to help Colts avoid a sweep. Shelroy Thomas finished with 14 points. For Guardians, Trenton Woolford scored 25 and Nikkoloi Smith 18 points while Nicholas Cassius added 12 points. The deciding game three is set for Saturday night at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall.
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