Cayman schools recently got a chance to show off their skills on the basketball court.
It was a beautiful day at Camana Bay’s Arts and Recreation Centre last Saturday as the teams in the KPMG 14 and Under Inter-school Basketball League took part in the grand finale of championship matches.
This was the first year of the competition with 12 boys and girls teams taking part in the event. It was organized to promote health, healthy inter-school competition, increase positive organized activities during after-school hours and to increase participation in the sport of basketball.
KPMG’s sponsorship of the league led to a boys and girls division that saw more than 40 games take place at the Sir Vassel Johnson Hall and the Triple C School hall Mondays through Thursdays from January to March. Each game had security present and children were provided with transportation home after the games.
Uniforms were provided for all teams and officials were provided by the Cayman Islands Basketball Association. Children, teachers, parents and supporters, like KPMG Director Fareed Hosein, all enjoyed the atmosphere and are already talking about next year’s tournament.
“The U14 basketball championship is a great initiative to help encourage our youth to get active,” Hosein said. “Being passionate to win whilst enhancing their teamwork skills are qualities that will certainly help them succeed in their future careers. On behalf of KPMG we congratulate all the players who took part.”
More than 20 boys and girls were invited to try out for the opportunity to represent the Cayman Islands as part of the boys and girls Under-15 national teams, scheduled to compete later this year.
The girls league championship saw the Clifton Hunter High School Diamonds take on John Gray High School’s Wahoo Academy. Wahoo were the favourites, having gone through the entire league undefeated, largely due to their towering line-up with the likes of Guiesha Smith, Amanda Stone and Ebony Walton.
Both teams came out with all heart for school glory and were trading baskets for the first few minutes of the game. When star player Yolanni Manzanares went down with an injury, Diamonds fans knew that their offence would suffer greatly. Though the Diamonds gave everything they had, Wahoo team would keep their lead, finish with a 28-16 victory and take home the first place trophy.
Guiesha Smith was the finals Most Valuable Player, finishing with 14 points, 15 rebounds and three steals. For the CHHS Diamonds Lacee Barnes finished with nine points, 14 rebounds and three steals.
The boys championship saw John Gray’s Tarpon Academy take on Wahoo. The game took a fast and furious pace with both teams going aggressively to the basket. Christopher Lopez, Bryce Thompson and Collin Barrett led the charge for Wahoo while Arin Taylor, Lloydell Williamson, Cameron Hydes and Akeem Burton led the way for Tarpon.
Tarpon only led by three points at the end of the third quarter, but exploded offensively in the fourth quarter. Tarpon scored 17 points, held Wahoo to only six points and won the title by a final score of 39-25. The finals MVP was Arin Taylor of Tarpon, who finished with 11 points, four assists and three steals. Cameron Hydes added four points, eight rebounds and three steals. Wahoo featured Christopher Lopez nabbing eight points, four rebounds and four steals.
The final results for the league saw Triple C win the girls and boys Consolation Cup. They would beat out John Gray’s Dolphin Academy both times. Marlin Academy was the girls third place finisher with Tarpon in fourth. The CHHS Sharks were third for the boys while Marlin were fourth.