By Edison Jefford
Colts stormed Cliff Anderson’s Sports Hall Saturday night, used their experience and superiority,and strode away atop the Georgetown Amateur Basketball Association (GABA) Division 1 League after trampling Plaisance Guardians in the closing minutes of the game.
Colts scored 12 points in just under three minutes while keeping Guardians to two points to race away with a 68-58 victory that really does not underscore how competitive and close the final of the best-of-three series was in crunch-time.
Guards, Dave Causway finished with 20 points, while Shelroy Thomas contributed 13 points for Colts. Centre, Shane Webster and guard, Kurt English, who made up for his game one flop at the free-throw line with a dagger three-point jumper, had nine points apiece.
Nikkoloi Smith also had 20 points for Plaisance with guard Marlon Chesney adding 10 points in an up-tempo and intense effort that lived up to the hype and expectation of a final that was made extra special with belligerent support for both teams.
With plastic bottles clamoring and supporters drowning out even the referees’ whistle at times, Smith drilled a jumper from downtown to level the scores at 56-56 with just under three minutes left in the game, sending those who trekked to the indoor venue from Plaisance on the East Coast of Demerara into a frenzy.
But English responded with a similar dagger on the other end of the floor, which triggered Colts’ run to the title. With no time-outs left and Smith fouled out the game, Guardians were restricted to two points in two minutes while Colts added nine to complete a 12-2 run that landed them on top of the Division 1 League.
Earlier, guard Enoch Matthews opened Plaisance account from beyond the arc before an intense defensive and fast-paced battle ensued. No doubt the sixth man, the raucous supporters from the two competing communities were involved at every play.
Causway drilled a jumper from downtown to put Colts up 7-5 midway through the first period. Forward, Nicko Fraser finished five unanswered points and Rayon Cummings a three-pointer to close out the opening period ahead, 18-8 for Colts.
The defensive battle continued in the second quarter with Smith chipping away at Colts lead with back-to-back layups. Forward, Mark Richards finished a put-back that gave Guardians their first lead since early in the first period 24-23 before Smith connected from beyond the arc to ignite an overwhelming response from the crowd.
However, as would be the story of the game, Causway also connected for Colts to ensure a 27-27 deadlock at the end of the first half. Down 30-33 early in the third period, Causway again landed from downtown to equalise midway through the period.
Colts went on a 5-0 run to go up 40-39 with two minutes to play in the penultimate period before Chesney sent the half-packed Sports Hall wild with a lethal crossover move that had his defender skating across the floor on the northern half of the court.
Colts led 44-42 at the end of the third period. Smith gave Plaisance a 49-47 lead with 6:45 left on the game clock with two free-throws from what really should have been a flagrant foul. Webster completed a put-back, and Causway a fast-break finish off consecutive possessions to push Colts up 56-53 with just under three minutes left in the game.
Despite a dagger three-point jumper from Smith, Colts never surrendered the lead again romping to another Division 1 title. Colts are the current nation-wide Forbes Burnham Memorial Champs, and lost in the National Club Championship Final last year.
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