Marc Stamp, Gleaner Writer
Pembroke Hall and Linkup All Stars chalked up contrasting victories in Game One of their best-of-three semi-final series in the Hi-Lyte INSPORTS Community Basketball League, at Edgewater Community Centre on Sunday night.
Pembroke Hall team had a narrow 51-49 victory over Spanish Town Meadows in the feature game, while Linkup All Stars easily blew away Upper Room Community Church 70-45.
Andrew Bell with 20 points led the way for Pembroke Hall and got useful support from Joseph Barrett, who scored 13 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the closely fought encounter. For Spanish Town Meadows, Damion Johnson shot 20 points and Rameash Brown scored 12.
Aquie Ferguson was the top scorer for Linkup All Stars with 15 points, while Nico Phillips gave valuable support with 14 and grabbed 13 rebounds.
Gavin Duncan scored a game-high 22 points for Upper Room Community Church.
Game two in the Linkup All Stars-Upper Room Community Church series is set to be played tonight at Upper Room Community Church on Shortwood Road in upper St Andrew, starting at 7 p.m.
"Although we won game one we are playing a strong team, so I am encouraging the team not to get complacent. Tonight's game will be played at a court that is not up to standard, but we'll go there for a victory," Dave McLaren, coach of Linkup All Stars, told The Gleaner.
At game's end, Pembroke Hall coach Troy Constantine, while satisfied with the win, was not pleased with his team's performance.
"It's not a game to feel proud about. The team did not play up to par. That game (on Sunday night) was our worst of the season. The guys got complacent against Spanish Town Meadows as we had beaten them by about 18 points when we met before the semi-finals," Constantine told The Gleaner.
With regards to game two, to be played at Pembroke Hall tomorrow at 7 p.m., Constantine said: "We will just have to do our best in order to shut out the series and move onto the final."
If necessary, game three in both semi-finals is set for Thursday, at a venue to be decided by the organisers. The best-of-three final is set to start on Saturday, January 9 at the National Stadium court. The winner of the league will receive the trophy and $100,000, while the second-place team will get $50,000.