Youth basketball is back in a big way in Cayman.
Last Saturday saw the start of the PriceWaterhouseCoopers U16 Boys and Girls Leagues.
The CIBA Court off Eastern Avenue saw four games take place from 5pm.
The first pair of games was in the boy’s league and revealed a big change for this year.
Gone are team names like Assassins and Balla-holics, replaced by the likes of the Titans and Jets.
The Titans (in their Washington Wizards jerseys) and the Jets (in their Charlotte Bobcats jerseys) put on a solid game.
In the early going things seemed to be working out for the Titans. Coach Kwei General emphasised jump shooting and rebounding and his team executed well. The squad jumped out to a 23-12 led in the first quarter and took a sizeable 28-20 lead into halftime.
However Samuel O’Garro would motivate his troops to stay committed on defense to create more points in transition.
The result was the Jets stormed back in the second half, nabbing a 10-8 advantage in the third quarter and a 17-12 edge in the fourth and final quarter.
Ultimately Jordan Cacho and his team were too much for the young Jets as the Titans came out on top 48-47.
Cacho lead his team with 22 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Jovani Simpson, who badly hurt his knee late in the first half, had 11 points and three steals. Christopher Reynoso contributed 11 points and four rebounds.
For the Jets Larue Nixon lead all scorers with 25 points, 10 rebounds and three steals. Tiko Moore crashed the boards well with 18 rebounds to go with eight points. Peter Grant contributed with eight points and four steals.
The second match saw the other new clubs in the boys league in the Portland Trail Blazers-inspired All Net side battling Above The Rim in their Los Angeles Clippers uniforms.
All Net were in control from the early going. They drove to the lane with reckless abandon, hit the boards with authority and put constant pressure on the defensive end.
By half-time coach Collin Anglin was breathing easy as his All Net side had a 23-16 lead.
On the other end of the court coach Jonathon Powery did his best to keep his Above The Rim side into the game. He told his troops that making good passes on offense and staying sound on defense would keep them in it.
However Stephen Ebanks led the All Net charge in the third quarter and put the game away. The side nabbed a 21-12 edge in the third.
Though Above The Rim would get a 17-15 advantage in the fourth quarter it would be too little too late.
All Net emerged victorious with an impressive 59-45 win.
Brandon Glasgow steadied the winning side with a superb double-double effort. The budding swingman had 26 points and 18 rebounds.
Stephen Ebanks contributed 15 points, five rebounds and five steals.
Above The Rim saw a brilliant double-double performance from Alex Ebanks. The young West Bay sharp shooter had 15 points and 14 rebounds.
Oswald Prehay chipped in with 13 points, including three impressive long-range bombs.
From there the girls took centre court and looked like winners with their eye-catching jerseys.
In the first girls game Comets came out on top in a defensive struggle as they beat Lynx 25-21.
Both teams failed to score in double digits in any quarter. Comets came closest with nine points in the third quarter.
Then again it’s hard to get offense going when in total there were 42 turnovers and 27 steals.
Nevertheless a couple of girls would step up on the offensive end. For the Comets Felecia Connor netted 16 points and five rebounds. Amber Watson countered with a solid double-double game as she posted 12 points and 16 rebounds for the Lynx.
In the second girls game the second half would make all the difference as Monarchs took down Sparks 43-32.
With a slim 22-18 lead heading into the third quarter, Monarchs stepped up on the defensive end. They limited Sparks to under double digits in the final two quarters while cleaning up on the offensive boards.
The result would be a 10-6 advantage in the third before sailing home with an 11-8 mark in the fourth quarter.
Monarchs were led by April Ebanks and Christina McLean. Ebanks had 18 points and eight rebounds while McLean posted 11 points, nine rebounds and six assists.
The Sparks countered with Annique Holness. Holness lead all scorers with 19 points and had eight rebounds.
The next set of games is slated for tomorrow. At 5pm Lynx battle Monarchs before Sparks take on Comets at 7pm. For the boys Jets face All Net at 6pm before Above The Rim battle Titans at 8pm.