CALEDONIA CLIPPERS and Stories of Success (SOS) recorded narrow victories in their first semi-final matches of the NBFTT National Invitational Championships, as they each began their best-of-three series on Wednesday night at the Maloney Indoor Sporting Arena, Maloney.
Clippers led throughout their match against Defence Force as they prevailed Defence Force 99-97 in a tense encounter. Clippers had contributions from Ako Pascal (20 points), Adrian Joseph (16), Kirk Baptiste (11) and Kenyatta Alfred (11). Defence Force's leading scorers were Kerry Mc Millan (24), Kensley Sandy (14), Derrick Boxhill (13) and Steven ‘Lighter’ Lewis (11).
Alfred said after his team`s victory, “The game was back and forth but the more experienced team won with the best guard Kurt ‘Koto’ Christian steering the way. Maloney resident Shawn Lawrence finished the game in fine style to edge Army by two points. Congrats to our coach for his high-standard coaching and remaining cool throughout the game.”
The second match of the double header was even more nerve-wracking than the opening match as Stories of Success edged Police by the slimmest of margins 106-105. SOS started off brightly leading the first quarter at 41-22 and then halftime at 64-51. However, in typical Police basketball team style, they clawed their way back in the third quarter to trim the lead to five points at 85-80. Despite, the pressure from the Lawmen, SOS held their nerves to take the advantage.
SOS`s leading scorers on the night were Kemrick Julien (27), Kern George (25), Ahkeel Boyd (20) and Clint Graham (13). Leading the scoring chart for the Lawmen were Fabrice Fisher (21), Dextroy Manswell (21), Ronell Winter (14), Randy Greenidge (13).
SOS player/coach Kern George said after his team hard-fought victory over Police, “They are one of, if not the most complete team in TT. Every time you play them it`s physical. It is a tall task but we will figure it out.”
He continued, “We have to find a way to maintain big leads for this playoff, we haven’t figured that out yet but winning game one in any series is a good thing.”