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Lighter sees Laventille through to Hoop of Life semi
Forward Stephen “Lighter” Lewis scored the last ten consecutive free throws in an effort which granted Laventille an unimaginable 96-63 victory over Maloney in the second leg of two-match Elite Eight, in the Hoop of Life Community Basketball League at St Barbs Court on Tuesday night.
Maloney secured a 29-point win (95-66) in the first leg, which as a result gave Laventille the monumental task of needing to win by at least 30 points, to qualify for the semifinal.
But, Maloney failed to deliver while needing only to hold on to a four-point aggregate advantage in the last three minutes.
A huge crowd, averaging some 350 chanting supporters from the both teams, witnessed a nail-biting finish to see Laventille close the deficit in the final minute to win the match.
Maloney began the match with an eight-point run, before Laventille was abled to get a point on the score board. Two bus-loads of Maloney fans streamed onto the court and everyone thought that was it for the boys from the hill.
However, Sheldon Christian decided to turn on the heat to the strains of a Laventille rhythm section and at the end of the first quarter the score was 23-13 in favour of the host.
Eight consecutive Laventille turnovers saw Maloney take over the reins in the second quarter. At the midway stage the scores were tied at 34. The match swung in favour of Laventille again with some unfettered fast breaks which gave them an 11-point lead at the end of the first half. The scores read 36-35 with Laventille on top.
The third quarter saw a magical change in the rhythm and Laventille took no prisoners as they exhibited undulating blocks, turnovers, steals and scored three-pointers at will, to change the face of the match.
A 62-39 scoreline was greeted by thunderous applause to iron and steel at the end of the third quarter. It still meant, however, that Laventille needed seven points, to ensure it eliminated its eastern nemesis to get into the next stage.
Shouts of “Laventille, Laventille” with a southern echo of “Maloney, Maloney” took the match to fever pitch.
In the last quarter, the battle saw five Maloney players fouled out of the encounter, with two of Laventille’s defenders following suit.
Laventille won by a four-point margin to enter into the semifinal and one step closer to the $1 million grand prize.
In the other fixture, southerners La Romaine continue to send the threat that it will not go away easily in a 104-89 win over Cocorite. For the second time, La Romaine reached triple figures against the western side, having beaten them 121-69 on their home court last Sunday.
In front of another handsome crowd, Cocorite appearing somewhat more comfortable on its home court trailed 23-18 in the first quarter. In the second quarter, Cocorite fans had pumped the team enough to see them make a valiant fight back scoring 23 points, compared to La Romaine’s ten.
It was at this point that La Romaine went on the rampage and romped away without looking back. The second defeat for Cocorite saw its million-dollar quest come to an end.
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