An inspired second-half showing propelled Guyana to an international series win downing Bermuda 66-55 to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in their three-match series Thursday at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall.
The third quarter is often seen as a pivotal period and it would prove to be decisive for the hosts. Trailing 29-30 coming out of the halftime interval, the hosts would employ a full court press defence which smothered and stymied the Bermuda offence.
The resulting defensive posture would result in Bermuda scoring a meagre five points in the period, inclusive of zero points in the final four minutes. Team Guyana as a result outshot the visitors 20-5, led by a seven-point showing from Shelroy Thomas.
Thomas commenced the charge with a big three at 9:40s while netting a layup at 8:40s. He would then complete the rout with another layup in the final 40 seconds of the period. Also making their presence felt in the period were Akeem Kanhai and Travis Burnette.
Kanhai scored six points inclusive of the final two layups with 14 and eight seconds left on the clock while Burnette netted four points from two layups to give Guyana a 14 points advantage going into the final period at 49-35.
Staring down a sizeable deficit due to their struggling offence, the visitors would pull within eight points at 58-48 following a 13-9 run. Jason Lowe was the architect of the offence, nailing a three-pointer at 9:40s and a layup to help cut the lead into single digits.
Deon Jones would also assist in shouldering the scoring responsibility, battling in the paint to record five points highlighted by two layups and a foul shot. Sustaining the offence in the early minutes of the quarter were Burnette and Kanhai.
Kanhai netted a three-pointer at 9:20s to cancel out’s Lowe’s three-point conversion while Burnette scored six of his seven points in the quarter through layups to keep the offence rolling.
Nevertheless, that would be the closest Bermuda would get to the Guyana score as the hosts began to re-establish their dominance. Hero of the first matchup Ryan Gullen would ignite the run as he netted a jumper with 4:46s remaining.
Thomas would then takeover from Gullen as he netted a jump-shot at 3:12s while Burnette netted a free throw with 1:45 remaining.
Dominic Vicente then capped of the performance with 40 seconds left on the clock as he drilled a left sided three point attempt, following several passes around the perimeter.
With the win, Guyana clinch their first series win over a CBC rival. They will now attempt to secure the clean sweep in the final fixture today at the same locale.
Burnette was once more the top scorer for the winners with 16 points, three steals and as many assists. He was supported by Kanhai who recorded 14 points, seven rebounds and five steals while Thomas netted 13 points, five assists and four steals. On the other side, Lowe shot his way to a game-high 23 points inclusive of five three-pointers, six rebounds and five steals.
Supporting with 14 and 11 points were Phillips and Jones respectively. The opening exchanges of the match witnessed Guyana racing off to an initial 17-7 lead in the early minutes of the period.
Utilizing their much talked about up-tempo offence, the hosts constantly hurried the Bermuda side. Jermin Slater battled his way to five points with two layups and a free throw while Thomas and Kanhai supported with a combined nine points.
Kanhai netted five points inclusive of a three point play after he had been fouled upon scoring with 5:24 on the clock while Thomas netted two free-throws.
Nonetheless, Bermuda would close out the quarter on a positive note as they outscored Guyana by a 13-4 margin in the final four minutes. Lowe shot his side back into contention with eight points inclusive of two layups and a three pointer.
Jones would also make use of his superior height and size as he battled inside the paint to secure four points. Bermuda would then carry their momentum into the second period as they outscored Guyana for the first time 13-8 in a cagey quarter.
While offensive fluency didn’t exist in the period for both sides, Sullivan Phillips led all scorers in the period with six points. This included a three pointer to take the lead at 30-29 in the final 10 seconds of the round.
Similarly contributing to the rally was Lowe who scored five points highlighted by another three pointer. Burnette was the top shot in the period for the hosts with four points who struggled to net a point during eighth possessions in the period.
Prior to the international fixture, Trinity Grid Holdings (TGH) Pacesetters defeated Republic Bank Nets in an exhibition affair.