At first glance the Comets are destined for a first round playoff exit.
It’s been a tale of two seasons for the Appleby Under-19 basketball League girls team. They started out the year 3-0 only to drop four of their last five contests and end the season in third with a 4-5 record. They now head into the playoffs on Wednesday, 7 December, at the Sir Vassell Johnson Hall of the University College of the Cayman Islands.
Comets stalwart Felecia Connor, 16, states the squad is not worried about their recent form.
“We’re not nervous, we know the strengths and weaknesses of the other teams,” Connor said. “If we go with a good mind-set we can win; else we won’t play our hearts out. I’m confident that we can play our best. We know what we’re doing.”
The Comets’ next challenge is stopping the 7-2 Sparks in a single elimination match. They are armed with Most Valuable Player candidate La-Torae Nixon, who is the league’s leading scorer (34.5 points per game) and rebounder (24.3 rebounds per contest). Connor states while Nixon is at the top of her game, her team can still contend.
“If we go in with a good mind-set, know the plays, understand and show ball smarts, we can win the championship. We’re one of the best teams in the league.”
Echoing her sentiments are team-mates Chloe Powery and Shana Linwood-McLaughlin. Powery is one of the biggest strong points for the Comets as she is second in scoring (25.8ppg), rebounding (13 boards per game), assists (three assists per game) and free throw shooting (45.2 per cent).
The West Bay native states she likes the idea of being the under-dog.
“It’s exhilarating in my mind,” Powery said. “We need to win. Everything we put together in practice leads to team effort. It’ll pay off I know as a team we can do it.
“We are the best. We can do it. In my opinion we are the greatest team.”
Powery is the star but has got help from team-mates like Connor (10.7ppg, 4.9rpg) and Linwood-McLaughlin (7.8ppg, 5.4rpg). The Sparks have also shown they are more than their star player as they have big contributors in Taylor Reid (6.8ppg, 10.3rpg) and Imani Abdul-Jabbar (6.0ppg, 4.4rpg, 4.3apg).
For Linwood-McLaughlin, who hails from George Town, there is pressure to step up.
“I feel we will win the game and give it my best try,” Linwood-McLaughlin said. “My team-mates have worked hard and we got to play the best we can. That’s all we can do. We can beat them if we stop thinking they are a tough team.
“We have to want it to beat them. If we really want (this championship) we have a chance to get it.”
Outside of the Sparks-Comets contest, Wednesday also features the 7-2 Monarchs facing the 0-9 Lynx. That contest will feature offensive threats Rochel Gardener and April Ebanks of the Monarchs facing Hannah Parchment and Sashaneil McField of the Lynx.
At this point the finals are slated to start on Saturday, 10 December. For more information e-mail [email protected]