Rochel Gardener is quietly one of the starlets of local basketball.
Gardener, 14, plays in the girls division of the Appleby Under-19 Basketball League. Her 7-2 Monarchs are the top-ranked team heading into the playoffs on Wednesday, 7 December at the Sir Vassell Johnson Hall of the University College of the Cayman Islands. They play the 0-9 Lynx.
The Savannah resident, who is originally from Jamaica, states her Monarchs are confident in a championship run.
“We’ve trained a lot, the teams are trying to beat us and we got to defend our turf,” Gardener said. “If we show our best in the playoffs, we can beat anyone that comes our way. We are the best team.”
Gardener is a big reason why a title is possible. She was fourth in the league in scoring averaging 14.8 points per game while notching 5.3 rebounds per game. She helped her club clinch the top seed against the Comets with 10 points, five rebounds and three steals.
Gardener states the victory was a morale booster.
“The win was real important. We got to play our hardest as a team.”
For the record the Lynx have a star player that can orchestrate an upset. They sport the league’s third-leading scorer in Hannah Parchment (averaging 20.2ppg) who also was the top free throw shooter (at 51.6 per cent) and third best passer (averaging 2.8 assists). Gardener states the Monarchs have an unsung heroine that can sink the Lynx.
“The x-factor is Guiesha Smith. Me and Christina McLean (who is in her last season and will be leaving us) are the senior players but Guiesha can step up and be a post presence for us.”
Wednesday also features another postseason match with the 7-2 Sparks battling the 4-5 Comets. Games are slated to start at 6pm.