By Floyd Christie
The Albouystown-Charles-town basketball team advanced to the final of the Mackeson National Super Ward Basketball Champion-ship Thursday night at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall after defeating Christianburg 74-70.
The unbeaten Albouys-town-Charlestown squad went into their semi-final encounter as fan favourites but soon had their backs against the wall after Christianburg raced ahead in the latter half of the first quarter which ended with them leading 24-16.
At the start of the second stanza, Christianburg were removed slowly from the driver’s seat as they were unable to add any points to the scoreboard for the first two minutes of the second quarter.
Their eight-point lead soon evaporated and they were under more pressure on the defensive end which forced a number of turnovers.
Albouystown-Charles-town capitalized fully on those mistakes with their young forward Akeem Kanhai dropping two three pointers to give his team the lead at halftime 39-35.
Albouystown-Charles-town’s Dwayne Roberts and Travis Foster dominated the paint for most of the game and Christianburg’s main inside man Nkossi Gurrick found himself outnumbered at the bottom of the key.
Gurrick also picked up four fouls in the first half and was confined to the bench in the third quarter which added to Christianburg’s woes.
With the `big man’ on the bench the Albouystown-Charlestown forwards threw their bodies around in the key to extend their lead, but they weren’t allowed to go far as Christianburg made up for what they lacked on the inside with outside jumpers to keep within four points of their opponents.
Going into the fourth period Albouystown-Charlestown led 54-50, but Christianburg was being outplayed at all corners of the court. As they focused on double teaming the inside men, Albouystown-Charlestown capitalized on the top and pushed the lead to 11 points.
It seemed like only luck could bring the Linden side back into the game and the determined Christianburg squad proved that luck was on their side. Gurrick re-entered the game and helped to chip away at their opponent’s lead until they were within one with two minutes on the clock. With the fans on their feet and chants of “defence… defence” coming from the Linden supporters, Albouys-town-Charlestown made good on the free throws they were awarded to go ahead by five in the final minute.
Christianburg’s Mark Louis then netted a shot from way outside the arc over a defender to make it a two-point game with seconds remaining.
However, the renowned accuracy of Kevin Joseph’s free throw shooting sealed Christianburg’s fate when he extended Albouystown-Charlestown’s lead to four at the free throw line.
Rodwell Fortune had another productive night for Albouystown-Charlestown with the game-high 24 points while Roberts recorded a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds.
Christianburg’s Quincy Jones led his team’s scoring with 15 points. He was assisted by Mark Louis and Dwight Cooper who each recorded 12 points.
Albouystown-Charles-town will now meet Central Mackenzie in the final on May 4.