Last weekend saw netball start off the New Year in exciting fashion.
Two netball matches took place on Saturday at the netball courts at Truman Bodden Sports Complex from 6:30pm.
By night’s end All Stars would crush Rising Stars 41-15 while Maples and Calder just got by Bodden Town Eclipzers B 15-14.
Sophia Foster and Errol Grey would referee the All Stars-Rising Stars game while Geraldeen Smith would umpire the Maples-Bodden Town match.
All of those squads play in the Cayman Islands Netball Association Senior Women’s League.
All Stars would take control of their match from the get-go, posting 10 points in the first quarter.
Goal Shooter Molly-Ann Moore and Goal Attack Pauline Bodden would be integral for AS. They constantly put themselves near the net and often got the ball in good position to shoot and score.
In the second quarter the offensive onslaught would continue though Rising Stars would get in on the act. By the end of the quarter AS would net eight points while RS countered with seven.
Attacking players Mellisa Rankine and Marcia Moiten would be the beneficiaries of solid passing from Wing Attack Wendy Ricketts. Ricketts hustled hard all game long but her tenacity showed up big in the second quarter.
The result would be Rankine and Moiten got the ball in rhythm and were able to make their moves to the basket before the AS defense got set.
Though the score read 18-9 in their favour, the halftime break would see the AS squad preach defense. They wanted to step up the defensive pressure in the second half and put the game away.
Meanwhile the RS team felt they were still in it and with a little more offense could muster a comeback.
The third quarter would see plenty of offense, just not from RS. 18 points would be scored in the quarter with 14 coming from an energized AS side.
Pauline Bodden would continue to flash a soft touch and sink many shots. Bodden would get help from Wing Attack Adena Miller and Centre Lyneth Monteith.
Miller and Monteith showed great hustle at half-court, as they scrapped for loose balls and fended off steal attempts from RS wingers.
For RS the passes just could not stay on target for Centre Wendy Fisher and Wing Defense Rhonda Ramone. As a result the attacking players had few touches and mustered fewer shots on net.
It would have been easy for AS to rest on their laurels after such a dominant third quarter.
However the defense would step it up a notch, limiting RS to just two points in the fourth quarter.
Much of the credit for that feat goes to Wing Defense April Myers, Goal Defense Caroline Reid and Goal Keeper Cynthia Collington.
They looked organized in the back and operated in unison. Their hands were active, the footwork was relentless and the hustle was undeniable.
Meanwhile the RS defense looked fatigued and simply ran out of steam. Goal Defense Renee Lindo and Goal Keeper Jessica Anderson worked overly-hard trying to deter attackers in the first half and it was obvious they could not sustain their efforts deep into the second half.
Subs for both teams would come on and make a difference. AS had many fresh legs off the bench in Colleen Shields, Carolyn Vivian, Whonda Fuad and Andrea Singh. Meanwhile Judy Jackson and Tricia Skyers Palacio gave inspired performances.
Yet in the end the outcome would hardly be affected. Much to the relief of a tried RS side referee Sophia Foster would soon blow the final whistle. The team would shuffle off the court in defeat and limp away from the game still looking for their first win.
The other game would be a tight affair from start to finish. Offense would be at a premium throughout as both squads brought their best defense.
The first half would lay testament to that. Bodden Town Eclipzers B mustered just four points in the first quarter and six in the second quarter. Meanwhile Maples and Calder nabbed just three and four points in the first and second quarters.
BT showed flashes of brilliance on offense from their attacking players. Some difficult passes from Wing Attack Chadia Nichol would get Goal Shooter Sharon Brown and Goal Attack Jillianda Frederick the ball in good shooting positions.
But consistently working the seams would be tough as Maples defense was air-tight. Wing Defense Michelle McLeod and Centre Yokidia Gordon were everywhere, getting in passing lanes and forcing loose balls.
Both teams hustled hard and kept their footwork at a high level. As a result the half-time interval was more of a break for the players than a chance to discuss strategy.
In the second half scoring would continue to be arduous. Just three points would be scored in the entire third quarter (two by Maples). Nine points would be scored in the fourth quarter (with BT netting home three).
Yet Maples found a way to edge by, including a six point outburst of sorts in the final quarter.
Credit must be given to Goal Shooter Sasha Powell, Goal Attack Christina McTaggart and Wing Assist Kim Litricio for staying determined on offense.
With all the pressure they faced it would have been easy to fold. But those girls stayed focused and showed great stamina as they fought hard on every possession to get open.
Much of the pressure they faced came from Centre Shakira Diaz and Wing Defense Kimberly Conolly. They would be physical and do their best to wrestle away passes, dive for loose balls and move their opponents out of position.
Ultimately the game would come down to the play of the Goal Keeper and Goal Defense for both teams.
For Maples Dominique Mowbray and Renee Thompson would stand their ground. They would fluster many shot attempts and soar high for rebounds.
Meanwhile Tricia Rankine and Chris-Ann Maye gave their all for BT. They did well to prevent second-chance scoring opportunities all game long. However they simply could not make enough stops when it mattered most.
Maples played the match essentially without subs while BT fielded a number of fresh legs in Tavina Gilpin, Latoya Smith and Shyar Foster.
With the win Maples continued their unbeaten run in division two while the BT winless stretch continues and has them looking squarely at last place.
Saturday’s matches come after two games on Thursday. Roma defeated Rawlinson and Hunter 53-38 while John Gray Mixed took down Unity 54-11. The games were played at Truman from 6pm.