GRACE Cannings and The Gleaner Company took the early lead in the best-of-five Business House Association Divisions One and Two 3-on-3 Basketball finals at Stadium Courts last Wednesday.
Grace swept past JTA Credit Union, 35-30, in the Division 1, while the Gleaner held off a late challenge from Wray and Nephew, 26-25, in the Division 2.
Coach of Grace Cannings, Tyrone Fairweather, said: "The players played superbly and beyond expectations. We lost to JTA in the semi-finals last year and they also beat us in the preliminary rounds, 33-32.
"We've never beaten our opponents... this was the first time the team has achieved this feat. I'm confident Grace will capture the title and we are going all out to come out winners in the second match come next Monday," Fairweather said.
JTA's Winston Bryan was not pleased with the performance of his players.
"They did not co-ordinate as how we planned prior to the match last Wednesday night. They did not execute enough as it was not a bad defeat. The players were not cohesive enough...," Bryan added.
In the Division 1 encounter, both starting trios of Kevin Daley, Andrew Gouldbourne and Jermaine Garricks of Grace, and Andre Murray, Keith Holloway and Dave Blackwood of JTA, were even at 6-6.
JTA then went in front, 8-6, with Grace rallying to level twice before going in front, 10-9. They were locked on two more occasions — 13-13 and 15-15 before the half-time break — but the superior shooting of Grace gave them a 17-15 lead.
Grace maintained a slim lead during the second half, 20-18, before extending the lead, 23-18, then 27-20 as the JTA was off target. With three minutes remaining, Grace led, 33-23. JTA's late rush to close the lead was in vain as they succumbed, 35-30.
For Grace, Kevin Daley scored 18 points and 10 rebounds and Andrew Gouldbourne 11 points and had 16 rebounds. For the JTA, Dave Blackwood got 14 points and eight rebounds and Andre Murray 10 points and 18 rebounds. JTA had beaten Grace, 33-32, in the preliminary rounds.
In the Division 2 League final, the Gleaner started with Kemiel Allen, Omar Wolfe and Odore Johnson, while Wray and Nephew countered with Nigel Reid, Eardley Brown and Kemal Gordon.
Gleaner took a 4-1 lead before Wray and Nephew rallied, but trailed 9-8. The game was even at 10-10 and on three more occasions as the first half ended with the scores locked at 15-15.
The print media took charge of the second half with a 25-20 lead, but again their opponents pulled close, 25-24, with a minute remaining. With under 30 seconds left, Gleaner led, 26-25, and held off their opponents to clinch victory and take a 1-0 lead in the series. The Gleaner had beaten Wray and Nephew in the preliminary round, 26-24.
Principal scores for Gleaner were Kemeil Allen with 13 points and 12 rebounds, and Omar Wolfe with 12 points and eight rebounds. For Wray and Nephew, Nigel Reid got 11 points and 10 rebounds.