The national Under-15 boys basketball team had a rough time in El Salvador.
The Cayman Islands lost its first three matches of the CentroBasket Championships by embarrassing margins; losing 127-27 to Mexico, 108-18 to hosts El Salvador and 105-26 to the Bahamas. Matches took place in San Salvador, El Salvador.
Mexico dominated on defence, causing 63 turnovers and generating 50 steals. El Salvador breezed to victory behind a near triple-double effort from Leonardo Hernandez (32 points, 12 steals, nine rebounds).
The Bahamas crushed Cayman inside with a 94-10 points in the paint advantage and a 68-15 rebounding edge.
The teams represented Cayman’s Group B opponents. There are eight competing countries in all, with Group A consisting of Barbados, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Puerto Rico.
In El Salvador, the Cayman team consists of 12 young men in Daniel Britton, Michael Brooks, Michael Dawes, Juawon Ebanks, Joshua Ebanks-Brown, Franz Manderson Jr, Jahmoll Miller, Javon Seymour, Norman Solomon, vice-captain Arin Taylor, Alexander Thompson and captain Jamel Winton. The young men trained for the competition from the start of the year at the First Baptist Church.
The stars were expected to be Ebanks and Taylor, both age 14, as they have excelled for numerous years.
Taylor has had the best showing thus far, leading Cayman with 12 points against the Bahamas.
Guiding the boys are head coach Duran ‘Trinni’ Whittaker, assistant coach Erwin ‘Bong’ Blancaflor and team manager Angela O’Garro. The squad competes in El Salvador until Friday, 31 August, before returning home on 3 September. Accompanying them is head local referee Gregory Hamilton.
For the record, CentroBasket is a tournament that leads up to the world championships and the Olympics.
The boys were hoping to emulate the national girls squad, which competed in Mexico City, Mexico. The likes of Rochel Gardener and La-Torae Nixon propelled Cayman to a historic fifth place finish and fresh kudos as the top youth side in the Caribbean.