Local hoop stars had the momentum heading into Aaland.
Cayman’s national basketball league just ended and revealed a balanced group of teams that produced a new champion.
News of an indoor facility being available for local basketball had just come to light and a new crop of great local talent comprised the national team.
However that energy would dissipate fast at the 2009 NatWest Island Games. Cayman, which had medalled in past games, came home with no silverware and a forth place finish.
The team lost to Rhodes 73-63 in the bronze medal match.
Collin Anglin, a long-serving member on the national team and arguably Cayman’s best player for years said everything came down to fatigue.
‘I’m exhausted from the trip and the team was tired. We had three really tough games in a row as we faced Gibraltar, Saarema and Rhodes.’
Cayman played its last three games against those countries and were arguably Cayman’s toughest.
Cayman beat Gibraltar 95-79 before taking down Saarema 80-64. However those matches would take their toll as Cayman lost out on the bronze.
Things started well for Cayman. The squad finished second in its group during the group stages and even boasted a lop-sided 110-29 beat-down of little-known Jersey.
That is why on the whole Cayman basketball technical director Victor ‘Voot’ O’Garro feels the squad has nothing to be ashamed of.
‘The team performed very well. We played three games in a row and the players were very flat. As far as the bronze medal game goes we had never beaten Rhodes or a Greek team at the Games and we’ll have to try to do so next time around.’
O’Garro travelled with the team alongside his wife and team manager Angela O’Garro and head coach Daniel Augustine.
O’Garro went on to talk about some of the key contributors on the Cayman team.
‘I must say Dwight (O’Garro), Collin (Anglin), Corey (Thompson) and Lloyd (Samuels) really carried the team and Omari (Corbin) played magnificently inside.
‘Collin was the leader of the team and made contributions that didn’t result in points or show up on the stats sheet.’
Ultimately Anglin feels an improvement in Cayman’s fortunes rests in more time for the team to bond as a unit.
‘The team pushes the ball a lot but we didn’t have the legs in the end. Nobody outclassed us. The teams were simply better at executing than us. Once the team can play together a lot we can do better.’
O’Garro meanwhile points to indoor hoops as the future for basketball in Cayman.
‘The teams that beat us had pro players while Cayman did not. The team camaraderie and effort were all positive. Basketball showed it is on the upswing.
‘From here the plan is to reintroduce a series with Jamaica and get more international games in Cayman. With the indoor court we can re-introduce international basketball.’