26 May 2008

SEYCHELLES : Baya choke Solomon and Cobras, HotShots take care of Stars

HE going got tough for Premium Cobras on Saturday at the Palais des Sports and go-to-guy Alao Solomon just could not cope with the pressure.
The Nigerian utility player was a shadow of the player Premium Cobras’ fans had known him to be in previous matches he has played. Baya got a deserved win on a 71-59 score on the day in a Men’s Division One match which did not live up to expectations.

Earlier in the day, HotShots used a huge fourth-quarter performance during which they outscored Anse Etoile Stars to hand the Women’s defending champions their first loss.

Premium Cobras 59 … Baya 71

Baya came into the game with one thing in mind: shut out Nigerian Solomon and stop him from getting the ball to attack the basket – both in the paint and from distance shooting.

They were successful as their game plan worked effectively, despite a poor start. The Cobras, who had won their previous five games, led 9-0 before Baya got on the scoreboard through a centre Robert Léon free throw.
Baya’s Léon (no. 11) attacks the hoop unchallengedCoach Guy Hall’s team held a four-point – 14-10 – advantage at the end of the first quarter but Baya shot into the lead for the first tine in the match at 25-23 on a Hendricks Denis 3-pointer with 2 minutes 50 seconds (2:50) left to play in the second 10-minute spell.
At half-time, Baya had improved their margin to five points – 30-25 – after outscoring Premium Cobras 20-11.
Expected to pose the biggest danger to Baya, but unable to get the kind of freedom the other teams gave him in the first five games during which he averaged 42 points, Solomon looked frustrated.
He questioned a number of the referees’ calls as did their bench and he left the court with only 3:07 played in the third quarter after being hit with a blocking foul – his fifth of the encounter. As he left the court, he threw his shirt to the floor and kicked it. He left the game with just 14 points – a team-high despite it being way too low from his high-scoring performances. The least points the Nigeria player had scored in a single match before Saturday is 34 against Cascade Bullets. His highest-scoring game was against Beau Vallon Heat when he got a season-high 49 points.
With no one to step up in Solomon’s absence, Baya went to work, winning the third quarter 26-18 for a 56-43 score.
Although the Cobras edged Baya 16-15 in the fourth quarter, coach Michel Malbrook’s team, who had killed off the contest in the second and third quarters, are back in the title hunt and leave defending champions PLS Hawks as the only unbeaten team.
Jean-Paul ‘JP’ Camille scored a game-high 21 points, including five 3-points – one short of the season-high six treys held by Premium Cobras’ Solomon and Baya’s international playmaker Giovanni Laval.
The other player to score five 3-pointers in a match this season is PLS Hawks’ veteran small forward Heribert Derjacques.
Denis and Léon added 14 points apiece fort Baya, while Seychelles power forward Dominic Pillay was Premium Cobras’ only other player in double figures with 13 points.

Anse Etoile Stars 46 … HotShots 57

They achieved the same feat last season only to lose by a bigger margin difference to the defending champions in the second leg encounter. This time HotShots do not want history to repeat itself because they know they can decide their destiny.

“We’ve done it. We won by an 11-point margin – a much bigger margin than last year. It HotShots’ Solin (dribbling) scored a game-leading 18 points in the 57-46 win over Starsputs us in a good situation and we hope to make the league title ours this year,” said HotShots captain and centre Tina Agathine after Saturday’s 57-46 win.
The victory came a day after HotShots’ Seychelles international player Beguitta Fontaine gave birth to a baby girl.
Trailing by four points – 31-35 – at the end of the third quarter, HotShots doubled their determination in the fourth during which they scored 26 points – 12 of those through international power forward Myra Solin who finished with a game-leading 18 points.
With four treys for 12 of her 16 points, Jenita Toussaint was HotShots’ second best scorer, while Agathine added 13.
The Anse Boileau-based team, who lost the second quarter 9-21, won the first, third and fourth 10-9, 12-5 and 26-11 respectively to bring their points tally to six.
Skipper Simone Malbrook had the hot hands for the Stars with 16 points and Geneviève Beaudoin added 13.
Meanwhile, in another women’s league match played last week, Mont Fleuri got 26 points from skipper Bernadette Songor in a 74-35 defeat of Cadettes who were led in scoring by Veena Panagary with 15 points, including four treys.

In two Men’s Division Two matches, RA Herons beat AAP Brothers 62-58 and LMS Youth defeated Cadets 70-56.

G. G.

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