Sparks fly for repeat

The Sparks are on the verge of youth basketball glory and the last obstacle in their way is the Monarchs.

Both squads are competing in the Appleby Under-19 Basketball League girls division final on Saturday, 17 December. The Sir Vassell Johnson Hall at the University College of the Cayman Islands serves as venue at 4pm.

One of the players looking forward to the match is Sparks forward Taylor Reid, who states her side can win with confidence.

“I said it (from weeks ago) that we were going to meet the Monarchs in the final,” Reid said. “They got to come good to beat us. It’s not about the players, it’s about the confidence. The game will determine who will win the league. Everyone has a winning mentality.”

Reid, 18, is part of a 6-3 Sparks side that finished second in the regular season. The George Town native had a solid campaign averaging 6.8 points per game and 10.3 rebounds per contest. Reid played a big role in her club’s narrow 58-54 opening round playoff win over the 4-5 Comets with 15 points and six rebounds.

The star of that contest was Most Valuable Player favourite La-Torae Nixon who notched 28 points, 25 rebounds and seven blocks. The Comets were guided by Chloe Powery (15 points, seven rebounds), Felecia Connor (14 points, four steals) and Shana Linwood-McLaughlin (11 points, six rebounds).

Nixon, 14, is a big reason why the Sparks can repeat as she is the league’s leading scorer (33.8ppg), rebounder (24.3rpg) and free throw shooter (51.9 per cent) and is fourth in assists (2.8 assists per game).

The Monarchs meanwhile are surging into the finals. They beat the 0-9 Lynx 60-44 last Saturday as April Ebanks went off for 30 points and 22 rebounds and Christina McLean stepped up with 15 points and 12 rebounds. It should be noted that the Lynx got solid efforts from Hannah Parchment (25 points, five rebounds) and Sashaneil McField (10 points, five rebounds).

The red squad also won the regular season crown at 7-2 and handed the Sparks two of their losses, the last one coming in the middle of November. Reid states that one-point defeat still lingers.

“As a team that could have hurt our confidence. We had too much turnovers and were hesitant. That game was close and a better strategy would have won.”