Fitness drives Ovaine

In the world of sports a 45-year-old athlete is typically considered past his or her prime. One exception to that rule is Ovaine Monteith, who is outplaying guys half his age on the basketball court.

Monteith is the starting point guard for team Charterland in the 2011 national men’s basketball league. The division two squad are currently unbeaten at 7-0. The West Bay resident has arguably been the best player on the team. He ranks third in the league in scoring (averaging 17.7 points per game), is tied for the league lead in three pointers (with 10 treys), is fifth in free throw shooting at 92.3 per cent and contributes 3.2 rebounds per contest.

Monteith states he is dealing with injury while posting those impressive numbers.

“When I play, every time I go out on the court I want to win,” Monteith said. “Also it’s about staying in shape. It feels good that I’m still able to play and excel. Having to deal with the hard court again after all this time is something I don’t like. I’ve re-aggravated a chronic groin injury this year but I’m playing through it. I’m making sure I get rest and some good ole salt water from the beach to help with the pain.”

Game venues for division two range from the Arts and Recreation Centre at Camana Bay to the University College of the Cayman Islands multipurpose hall and the Cayman Islands Basketball Association outdoor court off Eastern Avenue. Monteith is most familiar with the association court after playing there for decades on the Tarheels division one team which won national championships.

The division two ranks are a fresh experience as Monteith has been a local basketball coach in recent years. In fact he guided the Home Gas Flames to the 2011 national women’s championship back in March. Monteith states he is coping well in a new environment.

“This is my first year playing with team Charterland. I don’t personally know the guys too well. Mark Cook is about the only one I knew and that was from when he played for Maples in the old summer league. I just called up Stewart (Connelly, a player on the team and a partner at Charterland) and said I wanted to play. I knew him well from the days the team was called the Digicel Demons.

“There are a lot of new guys on the team aside from me. But we’ve done well so far. Unfortunately some guys are going away soon so we might be handicapped going forward and that might impact the playoffs. Some of the guys have played pretty good like Conrad Duncan, Mark and Scott Murray (who leads the league in assists). Jeremy Strickland has played really well in the post with Conrad and helped out with rebounding and blocking.”

Charterland have three more matches left against the last place Ritz Carlton Lions, fourth seed Rock Hole Fire Ants and second place Shockwaves. Monteith states his side has a good chance of going unbeaten the rest of the way.

“We have a good chance of winning. As long as people are not missing at crucial times we’re good.”