One top Cayman basketball official feels role players can decide the battle between the Wolves and the Grand Pavilion Shockwaves.
Cayman Islands Basketball Association technical director Victor ‘Voot’ O’Garro states the Appleby Under-19 Basketball League final can be impacted by unsung heroes.
“There are leaders on both teams like Phillip Webb and Peter Grant,” O’Garro said. “But there are some good back-up players that play an important part. The Shockwaves have Dominic Martucci, Arin Taylor and Ezra McLaughlin. Martucci handles the ball well, Taylor, though he didn’t play well in the semis, scored a huge three-pointer and McLaughlin is a fearless player who comes in and plays terrific defence.
“The Wolves have guys like Rueben Barnes, who plays good defence and Ben Stoner, who keeps pounding the ball and does the dirty work to keep it going.”
Wolves and Shockwaves are slated to tussle for U19 glory on Thursday, 15 December, at 7pm at the Arts and Recreation Centre at Camana Bay. It marks the third year the squads have competed for the crown, with the Wolves nabbing the championship last year.
Both recently booked their spots in the final at the Sir Vassell Johnson Hall at the University College of the Cayman Islands. Wolves beat the Esso Blazers 87-52 while the Shockwaves downed Bodden Town 45-43. Leading the Wolves was Most Valuable Player favourite Peter Grant (36 points, eight assists, six steals, six rebounds), David Powery (24 points, 16 rebounds, eight assists, four steals) and Barnes (nine points, three rebounds).
Powery, 17, is a Prospect native in his fourth U19 campaign. He states his Wolves are the favourites.
“I’m not scared, this is my year,” Powery said. “It’s going to be the Wolves this year. We’ll use a combination of both offence and defence. We need to play our tight D and keep up a good pace on O. No one can keep up with our pace.”
Webb (eight blocks, 15 points, 25 rebounds), Rashaad Powery-Saunds (10 points, 12 rebounds, four blocks) and Dominic Martucci (eight points, eight steals, four assists) guided the Shockwaves to victory.
Martucci, 15, is from Miami and in his first U19 season. The George Town resident states the focus is to shut down Grant and company.
“I’m taking it game by game and that game against Bodden Town is gone now,” Martucci said. “It’s the Wolves now, that’s all I’m worried about. Peter is my target, I want him. I know we can win.”
O’Garro, who has served as referee in the league, states though the finalists were a surprise the end result should be a repeat title for the green gang.
“I was predicting a BT-Wolves final because BT was the only side to beat Wolves this year. But the Shockwaves stepped up and if they play with the same intensity it should be a good final.
“(Shockwaves head coach) Jonathan ‘JP’ Powery has raised the intensity in the team. However the Wolves (under head coach Duran ‘Trini’ Whittaker) can run, which is different to BT who have a slower paced, half-court game. If JP doesn’t come with his A game, it will be a blowout.”
For the record the girls final takes place this Saturday, 17 December, at 4pm. The Sparks will look to retain their title against the Monarchs at UCCI