Waves and defending champion Horizon with five wins each expected to win their semi final matches against Storm and Rivers respectively but it was not to be. Storm handed the Waves a tough overtime two-point loss (115-113)and will now play Horizon in the final. In the second semi final Horizon battered the winless Rivers (112-87). Rivers will now play the Waves in a the third place play-off. The Caribbean Basketball Winter League matches were played on Friday at the National Area in front of a vociferous group of spectators.
The Waves/Storm match was full of none stop action in every quarter including the five-minute overtime, with the lead changing constantly between the teams. The biggest lead in the match was the six-point lead by Waves over Storm at the end of the third quarter, which Storm quickly erased in the second minute of the of the last quarter. The teams left everything that they had on the court and was spent at the end of the match, with Waves left to rue their chance of playing in the final against defending champion Horizon. The quarter scores were 23-24, 54-50, 80-74, 105-105 and over time score of 113-115.
The top scorers were – Waves – Cameron Burhannon 58 and Storm – Brandon BDot Armstrong 32.
Oneil Brown, coach of Strom was elated “I must commend my team. They played their hearts out, trust the process. We played this tem twice since this season, this is the third game and I told my guys going into this match if one team beat you three times it means they are better then you. The last game when I watch the game over and over again we see that when we play with two bigs it kind of give us problems guarding the perimeter cause the Waves like to shoot threes so we decided at the end of the game that we gonna go small and force them to go small and it work out for us.”
“I feel great and this going into the finals, if the red team (Horizon) advance we are confident that we can pull it off. This lifts the guys morale and we can’t wait for Sunday to come” said Brown.
On the other hand Waves coach Rohan Robinson was unhappy about losing the match and not getting the chance to play in the final, “well its simple, it come down as you could see the team prepare for us. You play a team twice and you beat them, you can do so much and no more. If you prepare yourself you will come out the victor. I told them if we cannot get a chance to prepare our self and we not playing together when things are tough we not gonna get through.”
Robinson had harsh words for the referring. He said it was horrible and definitely resulted in the Waves losing the match.
The second match of the night between Horizon and Rivers went as predicted with Horizon winning by 25 points. They lead at the end of every quarter (28-22, 70-46, 95-60, 112-87) and lead by as many as 35 in the third quarter. Rivers out scored Horizon in the fourth quarter 27-17 but by that time it was too late to many an real dent in the lead.
Horizon’s top scorers were Bobby Gray 23, Rasheed Maynard and Asaad Wood 19 points each, while the Rivers’ Anthony Ottley got 24 with support from Ricky Shuford 17 and Tre Brewer 16.
“It was a pretty good game. We have played them about four times. We weren’t surprised that we were able to pull out another victory tonight, not really a strong opponent but never-the-less we were able to pull a victory and I am proud of the team tonight” said Cleon Morgan, coach of Horizon.
Tesfa Milligen, the Rivers coach spoke about the team not winning match so far this season, “unfortunately another rough night. Hopefully we still have one more game left which is for third place so hopefully we can put it together and play a full 48 minutes of team competitive basketball and come out with a w (win).”
The third place -off and final will tiff off on Sunday (January 29). The first match begins at 6:00 pm and the final at 8:00 pm. The day’s activity will actually start at 2:00 pm with several exhibition matches such as the high school girls and boys teams.