Basketball

Spartans, Saints take 1-0 leads in SDF/Howard McCatty Community Basketball semi-finals

BY GERALD REID
Observer writer

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

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DEFENDING champions Spanish Town Spartans and St George's Saints take 1-0 leads in the 2017 Sports Development Foundation (SDF)/Howard McCatty Community Basketball League best-of-three semi-finals played at the Edgewater Community Centre on Sunday. Spartans defeated Portmore Flames 68-48, while St George's Saints surprised highly fancied Arnett Gardens Rockers 62-59.

Meanwhile, Game Two of both semi-finals will be played today at the Tony Spaulding Sports Complex, with the Spartans facing Portmore Flames at 6:00 pm, while Arnett Gardens Rockers will go up against St George's Saints at 7:35 pm.

The Flames, coached by Adrian McIntosh, and Arnett Rockers captained by Delano Mallett will need to win tonight's encounter to tie the semis and get another chance in Game Three.

However, both coaches Lennox Lindo of the Spartans, and Rohan Allen of the Saints will be looking forward to wrapping up the series and thus avoid a third meeting. The Rockers will miss key player Ortnel Campbell, who was ejected in Sunday's game against the Saints.

Spartans took a 16-12 lead in the first quarter before adding 18-15 in the second quarter to have a 34-27 lead at the half-time break.

The Spartans, through the scoring of Christopher Jennings, Michael Blake, Javon Bailey and Bryan Martin continued to take control of the game, as the Flames had only Kenardo Smith doing the majority of their scoring in the third quarter. Spartans ended the third quarter leading 53-38.

For the Spartans, the principal scorers were Jennings with 16 points and 14 rebounds, Blake added 12 points, while Bailey and Martin contributed 10 points each, with Smith leading the scoring for the Flames with 19 points and eight rebounds.

In Game One of the other semi-finals, lowly ranked Saints continued their giant-killing performances after they defeated second-seeded Arnett Gardens Rockers in a very close encounter.

The Rockers managed to take an 18-12 lead at the completion of the first quarter, but the winners rallied strongly in the second quarter through the duo of Kirk Ferguson and Conroy Morgan to level the scores at 33-33 at the interval.

At the end of the third quarter, Rockers regained the lead as the trio of Vivian Spence, John Brandt and Mowanga Campbell pushed the losers to 48-44.

Both teams stepped up the pace hunting for quick baskets in the final quarter, but it was the Saints who outscored their opponents to clinch an exciting game by three points.

For the Saints, the principal scorers were Ferguson with 19 points and 11 rebounds, and Morgan, who got 15 points, while for the Rockers, Spence scored 15 points, Brandt had 13 points and Campbell contributed 12 points and 13 rebounds.

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