An all-star night is supposed to feature the best at their best and that was certainly the case for youth basketball.
The Appleby Under-19 Basketball League event, staged by the Cayman Islands Basketball Association, lived up to the hype. The Sir Vassell Johnson Hall at the University College of the Cayman Islands saw all of the top 40 league players shine.
Among them was Phillip Webb, who guided the East to a 61-58 victory over the West in the boys all-star game. The George Town native states the match went down to the wire.
“It was a close game and in the last quarter we had to go all out,” Webb said. “The first three quarters they went hard on us. We won as a team and played good defence.
“At first our team said they had the advantage with more big men. So we had to outsmart them and play big (in our own way).”
Webb, 16, had the crucial block in the final seconds and sunk the game-winning free-throws. He also notched a double-double with 13 points, 15 rebounds, three blocks and a steal; good enough for the Most Valuable Player award.
The roster for the East saw Webb, who plays with the Grand Pavilion Shockwaves, team up with: Maynor Brooks (Bodden Town), Alfredo Cardosa (BT), Christopher Collins (BT), Brad Galbraith (Esso Blazers), Naithique Jackson (Wesleyan Christian Academy), Dominic Martucci (Shockwaves), Justin Nalty (Blazers), Sonny Powell (BT) and David Powery (Wolves).
The West had loads of talent as well in Reuben Barnes (Wolves), Tim Corbett (Wesleyan), Peter Grant (Wolves), Shaquille Heath (BT), Kaseem Penn (John Gray High School), Rashaad Powery-Saunds (Shockwaves), Daniel Quinland (Blazers), Oscar Rivers (Blazers), Ben Stoner (Wolves) and Travis Stroup (Wesleyan).
On the ladies side the East would also beat the West, though by a 61-42 blowout. Chloe Powery of the Comets emerged the Most Valuable Player by producing a near triple-double for the East with 17 points, nine rebounds, seven steals and two assists.
Serving as coach for the East was Wendy Manzanares, who guided her Sparks to a 7-2 record and the second seed in the girls division of the U19 league. Manzanares states the all-star night was a showcase of young talent.
“The girls did well out there as they pulled their talent together,” Manzanares said. “They all showed up and were all stars and starters for their teams. They held serve and used each other’s talents. It was a good balance.
“With La-Torae I thought they were favourites initially. So the game-plan was to shut her down.”
Aside from Powery, the East featured April Ebanks (Monarchs), Yolanni Manzanares (Sparks), Hannah Parchment (Lynx), Chloe Powery (Comets), Ashleigh Reid (Sparks), Taylor Reid (Sparks), Guiesha Smith (Monarchs) and Jade Wheeler (Lynx).
In addition to Nixon the West had Imani Abdul-Jabbar (Sparks), Renita Barnes (Lynx), Melissa Bridgemohan (Lynx), Felecia Connor (Comets), Ashley Ebanks (Comets), Rochel Gardener (Monarchs), Khadijah Lewin (Monarchs) and Shana Linwood-McLaughlin (Sparks).
All-star night also featured a three-point contest for both the boys and girls. Phillip Maret of BT would emerge the male champion ahead of Wesleyan’s Travis Stroup. Felecia Connor of the Comets emerged the ladies champion by beating La-Torae Nixon of the Sparks.