For a second straight year, the Butterfield Shockwaves fell short of national basketball glory.
The result is the team put the blame on the coaching staff, in particular assistant coach Gonzalo ‘Zalo’ McLaughlin. A number of squad members called out McLaughlin’s tactics for game three of the best-of-three division two finals in the Cayman Islands Basketball Association 2012 national men’s league.
“I have no comment about the game, other than something is wrong with Zalo, sitting me in the first half,” said guard Dominic Martucci, 16.
“Zalo blew me up in front of the team,” said Reuben Barnes, 15, of Prospect. “He called me out, basically saying I’m the slackest player on the team. He didn’t see my potential.”
“It was a good game, in the fourth quarter we came back defensively,” said team captain Olujimi La Pierre, 23, of Prospect. “Certain decisions were wrong and it was too late to correct them. But I’m proud of what my guys did this season.”
Butterfield lost to team Charterland in the finals for a second consecutive year, this time in three games. The Shockwaves started the series with a 75-73 upset in game one before Charterland came back to win game two 75-40 and game three 73-67 this month. The 2012 championship is the fourth in Charterland’s team history, dating back to their days as the Digicel Demons.
For Shockwaves coach Jonathan Powery, 22, the blaming of McLaughlin for the loss is unfortunate.
“It’s a shame, in society we blame everyone else for our problems,” Powery said. “It’s about our choices. Gonzalo is a football coach and he was my assistant coach. Everything he did I totally agree with. At the end of the day, as a coach you give instructions to win the game and it’s up to the players to execute.
“I 100 per cent agree with everything he has done. If we lost, we lost. The team had the ability to beat team Charterland but we got hard in our heads. One game we won and after losing two games we want to put blame on someone else. It’s like Adam and Eve. There’s no one to blame but ourselves. I made mistakes as a coach, we can’t blame one person. We all did something wrong.”
The series finale was arguably the most intense contest. Charterland had leads of 34-30 by half-time, 57-42 at the end of the third quarter and 67-46 midway through the fourth period. Butterfield would rally with seven minutes and 11 seconds left in the game. In the final minute, Charterland guard Scott Murray fouled out and Shockwaves guard Peter Grant made clutch three-pointers. It came down to free-throws as Butterfield’s Darryl Paddyfoot missed a pair with the score at 71-67 with 19.9s left while Charterland forward Nathan Smith went two for four from the charity stripe to seal the win.
On the statistics sheet, Smith had a solid double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Koutney followed suit with 10 points and 14 rebounds. Jeremy Strickland had 11 points and four assists while Scott Murray was the top scorer with 21 points off two three-pointers, six assists and five steals.
Butterfield had good performances from Peter Grant (21 points off two treys, eight rebounds), Darryl Paddyfoot (16 points, 16 rebounds) and Phillip Webb (11 points, 18 rebounds).
Powery, a West Bay native, states game three was an agonizing defeat.
“We started the game well, in the first quarter we were only down four points. In the second half, we held our heads down and I was trying to spur the team on. In the third quarter, we dropped our defence and it was too big of a lead. We allowed them to get a big lead, it was too much of a tall order to come back. If we had a better third quarter, we would have won.”