It is amazing what a change of scenery can do.
For local hoops a new place to play has seen a good team become great.
The Esso Blazers have emerged as la crème de la crème in indoor basketball. Granted only eight games have been in the books but the team pulled off a great performance in that time.
Esso is in division one of the Cayman Islands Basketball Association Indoor League. Games are played Sundays and Tuesdays at the Arts and Recreation Center in Camana Bay.
Heading into yesterday’s playoff game (the previous match was last Thursday due to a prior cancellation) the squad had claimed the regular season crown. Oddly enough they were the only squad with a winning record.
The squad has been solid on the stats sheet. They lead all indoor hoops teams in scoring with 471 points and finished second in their division in points allowed with 408 (15 points behind Mattysports.com).
On the court the chemistry between familiar team-mates has been evident. With the squad having been together for a few years now, everything appears well-coordinated.
On top of that the squad boasts its fair share of star talent in prodigies Samuel and Shaad O’Garro and team stalwarts Perry Levy and Kevin Maxwell.
Moreover the team has seen great strides made from its athletic role players. Guys like Lisani Sambula and Morgan Bodden have taken well to the new court’s surface.
All those positives have head coach Shawn Pitterson feeling good about the Blazers. He says they have been very impressive.
‘I’m very proud of our performance thus far. We have a strong roster that sees guys like Rotando Thompson and other talented players who contribute on offense and defense.
‘I’ve been particularly impressed with our new players in Davey Cotterell and David Taylor. Davey has brought a lot to the table. He’s a smart shooting guard who has made a lot of great offensive and defensive plays.
‘David has shared some of the point guard duties and has fitted in on offense. His greatest contribution has been making the right plays and the right passes.’
With the way his team has been playing they are the heavy favourites to win in the playoffs.
Pitterson is well aware of that perception but is quick to point out the title is not theirs yet.
‘Yes I’d agree that we are favourites. But Sammie, Shaad and Davey are all going back to school and might not be here.
‘That means the other players will have to pick it up for us to win.’