Spartans rebound to beat Flames 60-57
Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
IF Spanish Town Spartans are to win this year's Flow/National Basketball League (NBL), coach Lennox Lindo says his team's sense of urgency must kick in from the first quarter.
The Spartans left it until late last Thursday night at the National Stadium court before prevailing 60-57 over Portmore Flames, to record their fourth consecutive victory of the season. The Flames led by double digits for most of the game.
"I am really not pleased with our performance because our energy level was very weak," said Lindo. "We really had to toil in the fourth quarter to win the game," he said.
Lindo also described his team as transitional, with half of Thursday's roster playing their first NBL season in a Spartans' uniform.
"It was really a mighty fight from us because we had to come back from nine, points in the fourth quarter to win the game and so it was really a good effort, especially from our young players," Lindo said.
Christopher Jennings had a great game, leading the winners with a game-high 14 points while pulling down 13 rebounds.
Damion Johnson, who gave the Spartans the all-important lead (55-53) off a jumper with 1:30 seconds left in the game, added nine points while Michael Blake also had nine points for the winners.
Flames burst out the gates to 11-6 lead at half-time. With Bevroy Grey (18 points), captain Kenardo Smith (13 points) and Christopher Sandcroft (nine points and 10 rebounds), combining for 40 points, Flames started the second half strongly, extending their lead to double digits.
The Spartans managed to chip away at the deficit, however, and got their break midway the fourth period by capitalising on four consecutive turnovers to cut the lead to one at 47-46. Key defensive stops made free throws and fearless rebounding in the final two minutes secured the victory for the Spartans.
In the evening's other game, Waterhouse Blazers recorded an exciting 76-63 extra-time win over Swift Sons. Raymond Lane led the way for the Blazers, with a game-high 28 points and six rebounds.
He received good support from Kirk Shaw, who netted 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Kwame Lawrence (14 points and 12 rebounds) and Kerron Caine (11 points and 11 rebounds) were the leading scorers for the Sons.