By Floyd Christie
Georgetown’s supporters were ecstatic Saturday night at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall after Albouystown-Charlestown silenced the spirited cheers of the Linden fans and crushed all hopes of a Central Mackenzie comeback win in game one of the Mackeson National Super Ward Basketball Championship best of three finals. The fans came out in their numbers and to describe Albouystown-Charlestown’s 66-63 win as “exciting” would be an understatement.
The fans were mostly off their seats throught the encounter and after being thoroughly entertained by both teams, it was only in the final seconds that it was evident that the Georgetown squad would continue its unbeaten run.
The team’s record in the tournament now stands 6-0.
Central Mackenzie came out firing in what was their second encounter of the competition against Albouystown-Charlestown. They lost the first but this time seemed more determined to avenge that defeat.
Central Mackenzie began aggressively starting the proceedings with a 6-0 run and holding Albouystown-Charlestown scoreless for the first three minutes.
Albouystown-Charlestown got going on the scoreboard in the fourth minute after young star Akeem ‘The Dream’ Kanhai worked his way around a couple of defenders for an easy base line lay-up. He went on to total 18 points. Albouystown-Charlestown trailed for most of the first quarter until Kanhai attacked the base line again with back-to-back flambuoyant up-and-under lay-ups which gave them the lead and forced the supporters to their feet with cheers.
After snatching the lead in the closing minutes of the first quarter which ended 11-10, Alboustown-Charlestown made it extremely difficult for their opponents to regain the lead.
With most of his team’s first quarter points under his belt, Kanhai was becoming the star of the evening.
He continued where he left off in the first quarter by wooing supporters at the start of the second with a steal at half court which he converted to a one-handed slam.
Albouystown-Charles-town extended their lead with a number of shots including some baskets from outside the arc by Kanhai and Kevin Joseph. However, Cen-tral Mackenzie were maximizing on the inside and managed to stay close behind. At half time the score was 30-26.
Some quick run-downs by Albouystown Charlestown coupled with some crafty post plays by Dwayne `Brown Sugar’ Roberts (who top scored with 20 points), allowed them to push their lead to 12 in the third quarter and, with the help of another big three-pointer from Kanhai at the start of the fourth period, Central Mackenzie were looking out of the money. However Central Mackenzie’s Marvin Hartman brought his team back into the game. Hartman pumped life back into the Linden supporters after hitting three consecutive jumpers. He struck again, sending the fans wild with another vital shot, this time from beyond the arc and the scores were tied on 63 with 25 seconds remaining.
Hartman stepped up his game and brought his team to within one basket of a win but faltered after he was fouled.
Stepping to the free throw line with Albouystown-Charlestown only up 64-63 and with everyone in attendance tense and on their feet and the opportunity to give his team the lead, Hartman missed both free throws he was awarded shattering all hopes of a Central Mackenzie win. After opening the scoring for Albouystown-Charles-town, Kanhai would find himself on the line with less than two seconds on the clock.
He closed his team’s scoring by adding two free throws in the process silencing the Linden supporters and sending the Georgetown fans into an uproar at the final buzzer.
Hartman scored 15 points for Central Mackenzie and was assisted by Steve Neils Jnr. who was fouled out and only managed 13 points.