O’Garro praises players

Cayman’s national basketball teams are cock-a-hoop after netting a total haul of 24 medals in a major international tournament.

The 12 members of the female team each picked up a gold medal and their 12 male counterparts each lifted a silver after yet another successful Island Games campaign for Cayman.

The teams had travelled to the Mediterranean to take part in the basketball section of the games, which was being held in Gibraltar because of a lack of suitable facilities at the main games site in Shetland, Scotland.

And the country’s success is even more noteworthy considering the fact that the effects of Hurricane Ivan badly hit their preparations.

The heavy demands made on the only floodlit basketball court meant that for months the national teams could only train from 5:30am to 7:30am.

The players’ familiarity with the ‘box set’ system of play helped the teams, said coach Voot O’Garro.

But he still felt they were left slightly under prepared as they went into the competition.

Nevertheless the ladies went through the tournament unbeaten and overcame hosts Gibraltar, and a fiercely partisan crowd, in the final to claim gold.

Coach Voot, whilst paying tribute to the team as a whole, made special mention of the motivational influence of captain Merta Day, the strength of Eva Aiken and the pace of Simone Campbell.

The men – with a habit of picking up silver in past Island Games – also made their way through to the final.

But there they came up against an outstanding and experienced Bermuda team and narrowly lost to them in the final.