Youth get out of the rain

Youth basketball is ongoing and makes its first big move.

Last week it was announced that the national Appleby U19 basketball league will go indoors.

The league now sees its games at the Arts and Recreation Center at Cayman international School.

Games were previously played at the Cayman Islands Basketball Association Court off Eastern Avenue in George Town.

The shift in venue also brings a change in the schedule of games.

Matches are now played solely on Sundays every hour from 3pm to 7pm.

There is also an admission fee in effect as spectators are charged CI$2.

Proceeds from those matches are slated to go towards the association’s youth programmes.

The U19 league consists of a boys and girls division with 10 clubs in all.

The six-team boys division see a lot of new squads in the Esso Blazers, Future Sports Club, Panthers, Playmakers, the Shockwaves and the Wolves.

All eyes are slated to be on the Esso Blazers who won the championship last year thanks to the play of young hoops stars Brandon Glasgow, Patrick Barnes and Stephen Shaw.

Sharp-shooter Jarrett Terry steadies a young and revamped Future team that sees some unheralded talent in Keon Bodden, Reyson Paniagua and Rashad Powery-Saunds.

The Playmakers are a decent team lead by Bruce Thompson, Larue Nixon and Jordan Cacho.

Judging by their 86-66 win over Future to start the season the Playmakers have more than enough offense to contend.

In that game Thompson had 22 points, eight rebounds and five steals; Nixon had eight points and two assists and Cacho had four points, four assists and three steals.

At this point little is know about the Shockwaves, Wolves or Panthers. Out of that bunch it will be interesting to see if the Wolves can replicate the success of the adult team which won the 2009 national men’s league.

Meanwhile the girls see all four teams return from last season in the form of the Comets, Lynx, Monarchs and the Sparks.

Everyone will certainly be gunning for the Monarchs, who were guided to last season’s championship by star sisters Christina and Christsania McLean.

Scoring sensation Felecia Connor returns to steady the Comets with help from Shana Linwood and Whitney General.

The Lynx come in with essentially the same team from the U16 league featuring star players Amber Watson, Letanya Thompson and Annique Holness.

Out of that group Thompson is already on point as she poured in 19 points and four rebounds in the team’s opening 46-27 win over the Monarchs.

Lastly the Sparks bring a revamped squad steadied by experienced players Courtisha Ebanks and Latorae Nixon.

Both have looked good to start the season as they did well in the Sparks’ 48-27 win over the Comets to start the season.

Ebanks had 11 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Nixon had a game-high 18 points, six rebounds and two steals.

The regular season for the league is expected to run some 10 weeks with the playoffs beginning in the middle of December.

League finals then go off on December 20, just before the Christmas holidays.

Stats and fixtures can be found online at www.caymanbasketball.org.

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