The third round of the Elite 1 Caribbean Basketball Winter League last Saturday at the National arena pitted two-time match winner and defending champion Horizon against the winless Rivers and Storm against Waves with one win each. Both matches had the spectators on their feet for long stretches with Rivers threatening to taken down the high flying Horizon but it was not to be, while Storm did not stop challenging the Waves but just could not get the better of them.
Horizon started out slowly netting 22 points in the first quarter to Rivers’ 29. In the second quarter Horizon equaled the score at 36 all with 5:50 to go. They challenged the Rivers again at 42 apiece with 2:51 to go but Rivers maintained their seven-point lead at the halfway mark with scores of 49/42 in their favour. Horizon played an error-filled third quarter (turnovers and poor shooting) to be 15 points off the Rivers at the end of the quarter (60/75). In the fourth quarter it was Rivers’ time to make mistakes. The led by 20 at one point (84/64 with 8:45 to go) however they slowly gave up the lead and at the 2:35 mark on the clock Horizon took over the lead for a 90-88 scoreline and never looked back. Horison took the match 96/92 in very exciting fashion to hand Rivers its third loss.
Asaad Woods 26 points, top scored for Horizon with support from Bobby Gray (USA) 17 while Rivers’ top scorer was Anthony Ottley with 31 points.
Horizon coach Cleon Morgan who was happy for the win, “we started off on a rocky road. We are not usually good in starting slow. Normally if we start on a high note (and) we try to maintain that but we started off on a rocky road but never-the-less we are pretty good in coming back where defense is concerned”.
Rivers’ coach Ludlow Barker was left to rue his team’s chance at getting its first win. He said that he teams needs to “just to close out properly. We had the right game plan and were sticking to it and then we keep not closing out games properly. Too many turnovers, too many unforced errors and then we made terrible decision down the stretch. Give credit to Bobby Gray (of Horizon). He just kept finding a way, his team trust him and we gotta trust our teammates some more, that’s where we are gonna win some games. We just gotta fix how we close out games”.
The Storm and the Waves also put on a show but at the end it was the Waves who bagged their second win. The quarter scores in favour of the Waves were 19/15, 51/33, 65/60 and 94/74. The Storm was very competitive at time and dominated the third quarter to outscore the Waves 27/14 but the Waves came back strong in the fourth quarter with 29 points to the Storm’s 14 points. Cameron Burhannon 21 top scored for the Waves while Brandon B Dot Armstrong bagged 22 points for the Storm.
The Waves’ Burhannon said, “I felt it in the first quarter, it was just like my energy wasn’t there, just a little tired but I am definitely gonna get some rest the next couple of days and take care of my body and come back the next game with more energy”.
The next set of matches are scheduled Wednesday (January 18) when three-time winner Horizon will taken on the Storm (1 win) at the National Arena at 6:00 pm. The 8:00pm match-up will see the winless Rivers and Waves (with two wins) battling each other.
The league will feature double-header matches on Saturdays and Wednesday until the final week when matches are scheduled for Friday, January 27and Sunday, January 29 with the top two teams competing for the title and a 3rd place play-off match.