Shockwaves seek older challenge

 

The Shockwaves of JML International
Ltd recently fell short of retaining their youth basketball championship. Yet
the side is looking ahead to dominating an adult league.

Shockwaves head coach Jonathan
Powery states the side intends to keep most of its talent in place heading into
late March.

“We do have a team for the national
men’s league,” Powery said. “Some of our guys played in the recent division
three competition and I’m taking most of the Under-19 players with me. They
have been together a long time so the team chemistry has been built up.
Training starts next week at Truman Bodden Sports Complex and we will probably
go to the Cayman Islands Basketball Association Court (besides Cox Lumber Ltd
on Eastern Avenue) and train on the beach.

“Losing the finals was tough. But
at the start of the season I set goals and my expectation was to get everyone
on the team better and reach the finals. And we did that.”

The reigning Appleby U19 Basketball
League champions would surrender their title at the Arts and Recreation Centre
at Camana Bay. In a rematch of last year’s finals, Powery’s troops lost 76-70
to the Wolves. The match was a microcosm of the Shockwaves season as the side
was in the thick of the action in the opening minutes before rallying back from
a 16-point deficit late. That resilience was typical of a team that struggled
to place third in the regular season standings.

Wolves head coach Duran “Trini”
Whittaker states in spite of the rocky road the Shockwaves took this season,
the club did well.

“The Shockwaves have nothing to be
ashamed of,” Whittaker said. “JP (Jonathan Powery) is doing a tremendous job.
Throughout the season he had the team prepared. He had guys like Rashaad (Powery-Saunds)
that were so tall and did a good job rebounding the ball. For us in the finals
it was about controlling the tempo. They had a 6-7 man rotation while we were
10-man deep so having more guys helped us.”

Powery meanwhile states his side
made a number of mistakes in the final. On the other hand he was pleased with
the fact that a number of players stepped up.

“It slipped away from us. The team
performed pretty well. There were a few errors we made that they capitalized
on. That was what separated us because we were evenly matched. But Diego Smith
did a good job on the boards and did especially well on the defensive end (he
had 26 rebounds, 18 of them being defensive boards). He fought off three guys
on the boards at times and he kept us in the game.

“Rashaad hung in there for us and
proved to be a good addition. Cleve Stewart (14 points) paced us and he has
really adjusted to our style of play. Both of those guys I’m happy to say will
be on our men’s team.”

Powery-Saunds was the Shockwaves’
top scorer with 17 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks. He had plenty of help
from Smith (16 points and three assists), Stewart (eight rebounds and five
steals) and Keon Bodden (13 points and two assists). The West Bay native turned
18 this month and might not play in the U19 league next season. He states he is
frustrated with the team’s performance.

“It was a good game but the team
that wanted the win more got it,” Powery-Saunds said. “It looked like they
wanted it more. They had opportunities and so did we. I think I played very
good and I was prepared from last June for it. I was mentally prepared and all
I know is I did as much as I could.”

One of the Shockwaves’ lasting
impressions from the 2010-2011 season is their budding rivalry with Future Sports
Club. An also-ran for a number of years, the West Bay team rose up to place
second in the regular season standings. The sides squared off in the
semi-finals with the Shockwaves prevailing 70-62. The real intrigue came from
the personalities involved. A number of key players ruffled some feathers by
switching sides unceremoniously before the season started.

Powery, who also hails from West
Bay, further rocked the proverbial boat by stating his squad had a score to
settle with Future heading into the playoffs. The former Coach of the Year now
downplays the idea of the rivalry growing in the coming months.

“Most of Future’s players will not
play next year because of age so we’ll see. It will always be a good game to me
because I have to coach against Collin Anglin (Future’s head coach). He’s my
former coach and a man who taught me a lot about basketball. But I don’t think
I’ll see more of them (Collin’s current players) right now.”

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