On paper the Wolves look like a tough basketball team.
The Appleby U19 League squad boasts a multi-talented big man in Tikko Moore and a pair of notable sidekicks in Oswald Prehay and Brandon Thompson.
In addition the side is coached by Duran ‘Trini’ Whittaker, the same man who guided the Wolves men’s team to the national title earlier this year.
With the league in week nine of its 10-week regular season the Wolves have had the bite on the court to match their bark.
Coming into this weekend the side sits third in the Boys division at 6-2. The team has been solid on both ends of the court scoring 395 points (third-most in the league) while allowing 317 points (the fewest in the league).
As expected the aforementioned trio of Moore (13 points and 7.1 rebounds per game), Prehay (12 three pointers) and Thompson (4.3 points per game) have done well.
However the play of the team’s role players has made a world of difference. Stepping up for the side has been big man Aaron Kennedy and Ben Stoner.
Kennedy has quietly been a presence inside ranking sixth in the league in rebounds (65) and ninth in steals (22).
In most games he may not stand out on the stats sheet but on the court Kennedy does well getting to the basket and attacking the glass for rebounds.
Stoner is another excellent role player. Best known for his outside shooting (he is in the top 15 in threes made) the glasses-wearing marksman can always be seen hustling on both ends.
In last Sunday’s narrow 35-34 win over the John Gray Panthers Kennedy had two points, nine rebounds and two steals for the Wolves. Stoner meanwhile had an important three-pointer in the game’s waning minutes.
Then again the Wolves aren’t the only boys team getting big contributions from its role players. The division-leading and undefeated Shockwaves of Beach Suites owe their success to the guys around stars Brandon Glagow and Patrick Barnes.
Two names that come to mind are Khalil Mellad and Diego Smith. Mellad is a prototypical point guard who looks to pass first and shoot second.
The stats bear this out as he ranks seventh in assists (12). In addition he is constantly on the ball and making plays, as evidenced by his 24 steals (good for seventh in the league).
Smith, for all intensive purposes, is a double-double waiting to happen. His long arms and active hands allow him to attack the glass and clean up missed shots for buckets.
The numbers support his case with 64 rebounds (seventh-best) thus far and 57 points scored.
In the Shockwaves unexpectedly close 54-43 win over Future Sports Club both gave notable efforts. Mellad had four points, two rebounds and a steal while Smith posted eight points and 11 rebounds.
The standings show the other major team to note is the Playmakers who are 6-2. Behind the likes of hoops prodigies Bruce Thompson, Jordan Cacho and Neith Rhinegold the side has scored 415 points while allowing 335 points (both are second-best in the league).
Hanging on to the fourth and final playoff spot at present is the 2-6 Panthers, steadied by netball figure Earl Grey. He has coached a young side that has great upside behind talents Kerry Hunte (seven points, six rebounds) and Jermaine Taylor (10 points, 13 rebounds) as evidenced by their play against the Shockwaves.
After the Panthers come 1-7 Future, who continue to struggle in spite of their talent. Among the stars for Future are Kadane Hall (10 points, 12 rebounds) and Keon Bodden (12 points, two steals).
In the cellar are 1-7 Esso Blazers. The Blazers, last season’s league champion, continue to struggle on both ends scoring the fewest points (236) while allowing the most (442).
Over in the girls division the action continues to be tight. Lynx are out in front at 6-2 while the Sparks are second at 5-3. The Monarchs are in third at 3-5 and the Comets are currently in last at 2-6.