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‘I feel this is going to be one of the best seasons ever,’ declared an upbeat Victor ‘Voot’ O’Garro, basketball’s government-appointed technical director. ‘People are starving for basketball in the Cayman Islands.’

The feast has begun.

The Digicel-Wendy’s League officially opened Saturday evening in George Town and eight teams are ready to fight for the coveted national crown. O’Garro says Hurricane Ivan did not leave behind any obstacles the sport of basketball can’t overcome. The Ivan exodus did not deplete Cayman’s pool of hoop talent and there was already the need for better basketball facilities before the hurricane, so that challenge is nothing new.

‘I have no doubts that this season will be as competitive as any previous season,’ added O’Garro. ‘It’s going to be exciting.’

Bruce Richardson, representing league sponsor Digicel, said he wants to encourage the continued growth of basketball in the Cayman Islands.

Sports Minister Frank McField told the players to have fun, avoid injuries and make sports payoff in positive ways. He also said he was sorry that progress toward a new basketball facility has not been faster.

Dale Ramoon, president of the Cayman Islands Basketball Association, called it a beautiful evening and took the time to thank the sponsors and individuals who have supported basketball in the Cayman Islands over the years, including past association president Tony Scott and patron John Jefferson Jr.

‘Facilities are very important to our sport at this time,’ Ramoon said. ‘We urge government and the private sector to come on board and help us.’

League games are played on an outdoor concrete court.

Esso Blazers won best uniform during the opening ceremony. The highlight of the evening was the Champion of Champions game between last season’s top teams, Shaolin Warriors and George Town Sports Club (see game report). The game was sponsored by Thompson Shipping and the winner took home $500.