With the finals of the Mercantile Basketball League fast approaching the semi-final matches of the ‘B’ division were concluded last evening at the Henry Pedris Basketball Court. MAS holdings beat John Keels Holdings while Kanrich beat NTB. 

John Keels Holdings vs MAS Holdings

Moments after the game began MAS moved into a man to man defense stopping the John Keels players in their tracks and took control of the ball to get the first basket of the game. The MAS players capitalized on fast breaks and took the lead during the first few minutes of the game whilst the John Keels players had trouble making their jump shots connect. John Keels’ zone defense had a tough time pushing out the MAS players as they penetrated the defense to take shots inside the D. The MAS players dominated the rim on both offense and defense. Although during the second quarter MAS was couldn’t keep track of the foul count, JKH failed to capitalize on this as they went into lemons trailing by 7.

Half-time: John Keels Holdings- 20 MAS Holdings- 27

As the second half began JKH reduced the deficit to a 5 point difference although this wasn’t for too long as MAS regained control of the game following a couple of steals and interceptions that were converted successfully. The John Keels players failed to stop the MAS offensive attempts allowing the deficit to grow. MAS switched to a full-court press during the final few minutes to gain more ball possessions and increase the deficit further. Towards the final few minutes, victory was assured for MAS as they built a substantial lead.

Full-time: John Keels Holdings-30 MAS Holdings-58

The coach of the winning team had this to say to ThePapare:

“John Keels were playing with a lot of injured players giving us a slight edge and our decision to switch to a man to man defense went a long way in blocking their offensive attempts. Thanks to the different strategies we used this match had less pressure than the last time we played against them.”

Kanrich Finance vs Nations Trust Bank

Kanrich took first possession of the ball and drew first blood from a free shot. While NTB had very bad luck with their jumpers with most of them bouncing off the edge of the rim. Although they did have a size advantage they failed to penetrate the Kanrich zone defense and shoot inside the D, while the Kanrich players, on the other hand, managed to take a slight lead through their mid-range jump shots. Both teams were high on the foul count giving each other many opportunities to score near the line. Once again although NTB had an upper hand with height it was Kanrich who dominated the rebounds on either end, leaving NTB trailing by 13 going into lemons.

Half-time: Kanrich Finance-29 Nations Trust Bank-16

Kanrich switched to a man to man defense and secured more ball possession and scored basket after basket, increasing the deficit, while NTB continued to struggle to score. Halfway into the half, NTB lost a crucial player due to an injury. Trailing by 19 NTB decided to switch to a full-court press and played a more aggressive game to reduce the deficit. During the final few minutes NTB tried their luck from downtown since they had a deficit of over 15 points to cover but as they ran out of time and Kanrich sealed their spot in the finals. Even the many free shots NTB received in the final couple of minutes weren’t enough to turn things around.

Full-time: Kanrich Finance-60 Nations Trust Bank-41

The coach of the winning team shared his thoughts with ThePapare:

“We got into a rhythm in the 1st half and took a lead which reduced the pressure a lot and all we had to do was maintain that lead in the second half maintaining the same momentum we built.”