D'Park, Braves battle for Hi-lyte/Insports berth
THE last remaining spot in the Hi-lyte/Insports Southern Conference Community Basketball League will be decided this afternoon when Duhaney Park meet Braves to see who advance as the best sixth-placed team.
Fifteen of the 16 teams have already been decided, with the top five places in the three groups already cemented. Blazing Panther and Upper Room Church were the last two of the lot to consolidate their places with victories on Thursday.
Blazing Panthers defeated Norman Gardens Dragons, 69-44, to join the latter and Duhaney Park on 12 points. However, Duhaney Park dropped to sixth based on results in the match-up between the teams. Upper Room also advanced with a 59-48 win over Aqua 'B'.
The win lifted Upper Room from 11 to 13 points and they progressed from Zone Three, along with fifth-placed North Street on 13 points. As a result, Braves were relegated to sixth place.
At the Edward Seaga Courts on Thursday, Nicholas Venson posted a game-high 21 points and 15 rebounds in Upper Room's win over Aqua 'B'. Ricardo Morris was Aqua's topscorer with 18 points.
Upper Room outplayed their opponents to take a 20-14 lead after the first quarter, but Aqua rallied to win the second quarter, 17-10, for a one-point (31-30) lead at half-time.
However, Upper Room were rampant in the third quarter as they outscored Aqua, 20-7, for a 50-38 lead going into the last period of the game. Upper Room were hardly threatened during the last quarter and they came out comfortable winners in the end.
In the other key match-up, Jermaine Patterson bagged 23 points and 15 rebounds for Blazing Panther, with Nicholas Fyne showing good support with 10 points in their win against Norman Gardens.
Norman Gardens' Sheldon McGrowder was the game's topscorer with 24 points.
The Panthers, who needed to win to have any chance of making it to play-offs, dominated three of the four quarters to take a convincing win. They led 13-9 after the first quarter and 27-23 at half-time, after the second quarter drew 14-14.
But in the third period, the Panthers outscored the Dragons, 19-10, to lead 46-33 going into the final quarter, which they also won, 23-11.
In other games, early qualifiers Pembroke Hall defeated Zone Two winners, Denham Town, 69-63 in over-time, thanks to Andrew Bell's game-high 32 points.
Another qualifier, Linkup Allstars, also scored an easy 92-47 win over Waterhouse. Nico Philip scored 20 points, Garfield Campbell 19 and Sheldon Little 18 for Linkup. Sean Anderson topscored for Waterhouse with 14 points.
In the play-offs which begin on January 13, Aqua Youths play North Street Heat, Denham Town Warriors face Norman Gardens, Megamart take on Portmore Blazers, Linkup Allstars meet Blazing Panthers, Rae Town Raptors are up against Spanish Town Meadows, Upper Room take on Sky Legends, Pembroke Hall tackle Hagley Park Thorns, while Arnett Gardens Rockers will play the winner of the Braves, Duhaney Park game.