-Colts trample Ravens; Retrieve Raiders ransack Pacesetters
By Edison Jefford
The Guyana Amateur Basketball Federation National Championships: Mackeson Road to Mecca III took an unexpected twist Sunday night when two underdogs upset the pre-game favorites that ensured a continuation of the Linden versus Georgetown rivalry.
The result from the Final Four playoffs gave a Linden-based team a place in the final for the first time in the tournament’s three-year history and guaranteed the crowning of a new champion. The turn of events will produce a new national ranking after the tournament.
In the first semi-final, swingman Stanton Rose and guard, Dave Causeway made high percentage shots from three-point range to help Colts demolish the formidable, Dyna’s Ravens 81-59 to give them a place in the final for the second consecutive year.
The 16-year-old junior national player from Kwakwani, Rose had a monster game with 27 points and 11 rebounds. Guards, Shelroy Thomas had 17 points, while Causway and Kurt English ended with 11 and 10 points respectively as Colts backcourt wreaked havoc.
For Ravens, shooting guard, Ryan Stephney had 21 points while Dominic Vincente finished with 15 points. The usually clinical Ravens offence collapsed early in the game and never showed any sign of recovery as turnovers plagued them throughout the game.
Colts capitalised to reach their second national final in as many years, knocking the 2014 champs Ravens into the third place playoff. Linden’s Retrieve Raiders handed defending champions, the Pacesetters a similar fate in the second game Sunday night.
Raiders ransacked Pacesetters with its size in the paint to grind out a 65-56 win. It was the first in the history of the tournament for a Linden team. Dwayne Roberts had 17 points and 12 rebounds, Jason Alonzo 10 points and 15 rebounds and guard, Keon Cameron 11 points and right steals in a massive win for Linden’s number one ranked club.
For Pacesetters, Sherlan Legall had 15 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists with shooting guard Stephon Gillis adding nine points. Pacesetters struggled offensively against the Raiders’ size that clogged up the paint and prevented easy penetrations.
Legall finished a put-back to equalise 35-35 five minutes into the third quarter after Raiders held the halftime 32-28 lead. Travis Burnett finished a fast-break play to ensure Pacesetters were only down one, 43-44, at the end of the penultimate period.
Randy Richardson completed a layup to put Pacesetters up 45-44 to start the fourth quarter, but a jumper from Roberts returned the momentum to Raiders. Pacesetters lead was the only one of the game as they played from behind throughout the grueling defensive contest.
Raiders took a 48-45 lead with about eight minutes to play in the game and never relinquished an already established advantage. To make matters worst for Pacesetters, two senior guards, Burnett and Gillis fouled out the game with 1:25 and 53.2 left on the clock respectively.
Raiders played at a temperate pace throughout, which forced Pacesetters to go ‘big’ as well with Richardson, Royston Siland, Jermaine Hamilton and Horace Hodges matching up against Alonzo, Roberts, Marvin Hartman, Neil Marks and Omally Sampson.
From the numbers, Raiders won the ‘big man’ game and will play for its first national title at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall Saturday night. The winner of the tournament pockets $500,000 with second place taking home $250,000, third $150,000 and fourth $100,000 respectively.
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