Noelita Lawrence – Staff Reporter
Last year’s beaten finalists, Montego Bay Cricket Club Knights, and former champions Catherine Hall All Stars, marked off early wins on Sunday, April 14, as action tipped off in the 2019 edition of the Western Elite Basketball League (EBL) with a double header at the Montego Bay Cricket Club.
Beginning in the usual late start, the League opened more than half-an-hour behind the scheduled time with a new-look Knights engaging Sav Elite Titans.
In an entertaining game filled with tension, Knights ran over Sav Elite Titans, who saw a player forced off the court for foul and abusive language geared towards a teammate, 85-58.
It was a fairly competitive going affair in the opening quarter of the game with Knights, missing a number of key players, taking the quarter 18-13, despite traditionally making slightly slow starts to their games.
Knights upped their intensity in the mid quarters and took the game away from their travelling Westmoreland opponents in a dominant 21-16 and 26-17 performance which gave them a comfortable 65-46 lead going into the fourth and final quarter.
They increased the final score with another 20 points tally to their opponent’s 12 as they ticked off the first win of the season in emphatic and business-like fashion.
Jermaine Allwood, electric from the get-go and who pushed with several early fast break points, carried the team in scoring with 16 points and effected 8 steals, while Daniel Malcolm added 15 and also had 7 steals.
Lanky schoolboy, Omar Campbell also gave solid support, adding a double-double, 14 poins and snatched 12 rebounds, while Rayon Gardiner contributed 11 and grabbed 8 rebounds to go with his 6 assists.
The returning Lemar Mitchell, who proved solid on the defensive end, also made a contribution of 10 points and hauled down 4 rebounds.
For the Titans, Richard Chambers, who missed the opening quarter, led his team with 20 points and was supported by Richard Russell, who added 11 points.
In the match of the evening, promoted MoBay Boys’ Club Warriors had their prospect of an opening day victory snatched in a stinging 72-73 defeat to the Catherine Hall All Stars, ex-many times winners.
Michael Schloss, who fizzed the winner with a put back with three seconds on the clock, again dazzled with 25 points, 11 rebounds and three steals in guiding the All Stars to an opening win in thrilling fashion.
Schloss was supported by Errol Steele, 18 points.
For the Warriors, Levar Rose and Tafari Vassell combined for 29 points with Vassell grabbing 18 rebounds and Rose dishing 7 assists.
In a high quality encounter, the lead changed hands several times before All Stars took a narrow advantage late in the final quarter.
As time expired and with the contest tied up, veteran Goyan Malcolm split a double team to put up a lay-up, but his effort missed and on the follow-up, the energetic Schloss managed to put back the rebound, snatching the dramatic win as time expired.
The action continues on Thursday, April 18, with Cornwall Court Chargers and the defending champions Granville Jaguars locking horns.