Friday, October 10, 2008
by Justin Marville
THE FAIRY TALE is over!
And the pecking order of the United Insurance Schools Basketball Division 2 Tournament has been restored.
Behind the "Big Three" of John Jones, Justin Maloney and Jodi Williams, title contenders Garrison Secondary thrashed Lester Vaughan 63-35 on Wednesday to put an end to the visitors' Cinderella run in the competition.
Playing unbeaten through the season's first three games, Lester Vaughan (3-1) had high hopes of contending for the school's first championship after soundly dispatching their earlier opponents.
But those title aspirations were dashed within the first four minutes of the Dayrells Road encounter as the Garrison (5-0) were anything but hospitable to their road-weary guests.
With the backcourt pair of Williams and Maloney feasting in the open court, a 14-0 Garrison start to the contest quickly dispelled any myths about the true class of the competition.
The duo's exploits in transition were a direct result of Jones' dominance at the other end of the floor, as the 6ft. 6in. athletic centre controlled the defensive boards while registering several blocks.
Jones was no slouch offensively either, scoring a series of baskets in the low post late in the first quarter to extend the home side's lead to 24-3 heading into the second period.
Despite missing leading scorer, Ashley Smith, in that ensuing quarter, Lester Vaughan responded valiantly with Raphael Hinds, Elvis Forde and Kareem Neblett forcing the issue in transition.
The trio were allowed to get out in the open court for several easy scoring opportunities as the Garrison got sloppy, with Williams and Jones sitting out the majority of the second period.
However, the visitors were still forced to contend with an unrelenting Maloney, who halted Lester Vaughan's rally with a pair of baskets to the end the quarter – the last one coming on a nimble step-back jumper as the half-time whistle sounded.
Trailing 32-13 entering the second half, Lester Vaughan were undaunted by Jones and Williams' re-entry, and managed to keep themselves in the contest by changing the game into a track meet.
With Neblett and Forde pushing the ball in the open floor once more, the visitors traded baskets back and forth with Williams and Maloney keeping the deficit to a respectable 21 points (47-26) entering the fourth quarter.
But it was there that Jones stamped his authority on the game's proceedings as the visitors had no answer in the paint to the towering Garrison centre.
Continually pounding away in the low blocks against the smaller opposing frontcourt, Jones effectively put an end to the contest, pouring in eight fourth quarter points to stretch the hosts' lead past 30 points with less than two minutes remaining.
Williams led the way with a game-high 19 points while Jones and Maloney added 17 and 16 points, respectively. For Lester Vaughan, Neblett scored 14 points and Forde ended with 11.
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