Playoff hoops

There has been no shortage of drama in local basketball.

From surprise contenders to new stars many storylines graced the sport.

The new chapter in the plot unfolds tonight with the start of the playoffs.

The Cayman Islands Basketball Association Court hosts the start of the postseason for division one of the Domino’s Pizza Men’s Basketball League.

Action in the ‘Big Four’ series sees two games at 6:15pm and 7:50pm. The top four teams during the season play a best-of-three series.

This year’s field is an interesting and unexpected one. The number one seed is the DHL Wolves who take on number four seed Colombia. The Esso Blazers have the number two seed and take on the Silver Bullets in the three spot.

Out of the mix are last year’s finalists team Shaolin and five-time defending champions George Town Sports Club.

The Wolves have been far and away the best squad in local basketball this year. DHL ended the regular season with just two losses and boasted the league’s stingiest defense (allowing a league-low 637 points).

In addition the Wolves have benefited from contributions up and down the roster. Andres Kirchman and Dwight O’Garro have emerged as a lethal duo down low in the front court.

Meanwhile Gary ‘Butcher’ McLaughlin has steadied the backcourt alongside the likes of Earl Allen and Mitchie Williams.

The Blazers meanwhile have been a solid number two in the league. Esso has thrived in large part due to a powerful offense that is second in scoring with 830 points.

Key for the club has been the emergence of Samuel O’Garro as a powerful wingman that can create his own shot, attack the boards and be a defensive anchor.

The club has also seen solid play from stalwarts Perry Levy and Kevin Maxwell along with new recruit Bosko Tomzsezik.

In the three spot are a new and improved Silver Bullets team. The side may be in the middle of the pack stats-wise but their cohesion has been key.

Their three biggest off-season acquisitions have made a world of difference as Adam Milburn has been a solid option at guard, Collin Bodden has attacked the boards and Deandre Simpson is living up to expectations as a dominant two-way player.

In the fourth and final spot is arguably the biggest shocker in local hoops: team Colombia. Having just been promoted from division two this season, Colombia have shown they can stay with the big guns.

Defense has been crucial as the side has given up the third fewest points in the division with 761. Among the star on both ends of the court have been Jonathan Corpus, Sandi Jiminez and Barren Bravo.

In addition to the new cast of teams, there will be some changes to the playoff format. New for this year will be the introduction of a best-of-five series for the finals. Also CIBA officials Edward Ebanks and Courtney Wisdom put in another twist in allocating arguably the league’s best referees for the playoffs.

The referees are: Josue Granillo, Antonio Hanna, Gregory Hamilton and Rizan ‘Bong’ Encinas.

CIBA Technical Director Victor ‘Voot’ O’Garro expressed his feelings on the playoffs.

‘We have fresh blood in the big four. We will have a surprise winner this year and I’m expecting some tight and exciting playoffs.

‘Colombia did well to get in, Silver Bullets are in while Wolves and Blazers are regular contenders. Any one can win.’

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