Game Takers rise for rookie crown

The Game Takers are among Cayman’s latest basketball champions. 

After defeating the defending champions Charterland, the Game Takers had not come this far, to last month’s finals for division two of the Cayman Islands Basketball Association National Men’s League, to lose. They managed to fend off a valiant effort from the Cinderella squad – team Philippines – as they started off with a convincing 82-69 Game One victory. 

Darryl Paddyfoot led all scorers at Camana Bay’s Arts and Recreation Centre with 17 points and eight rebounds while Game Takers team-mate Bruce Reynolds added 12 points, 12 rebounds and four assists. Cleveland Stewart Jr. and Sr. poured in 14 points each. 

For the Philippines, Juawon Ebanks had the best all-round game and finished with 11 points, six rebounds, five steals and four assists while Carlo Manuel led in scoring for his team with 15 points. 

In Game Two, it all came down to the final shot as Game Taker fans breathed a sigh of relief when they saw the shot from Rommel Mesina miss the target. Although they outscored the Game Takers, 22-15, in the fourth quarter, it was too little too late for team Philippines. The Pinoy crew had found themselves in a deep hole after being outscored by 10 points in the first three quarters. 

For the Game Takers, Finals Most Valuable Player Bruce Reynolds had an incredible all-round game with nine points, 15 rebounds, seven assists, three steals and one block. Nigel Ebanks led in scoring with 16 points while Darryl Paddyfoot added 11 points.  

For the Philippines, rookie of the year candidate Juawon Ebanks, 15, finished with 10 points, nine rebounds, four assists and five steals while team-mate Paul Villanueva added 17 points. 

Game Takers are one of three adult league champions crowned this year. David Taylor’s Esso Blazers repeated as men’s division one champions after sweeping Rotando Thompson’s Dominos Warriors once again and Chloe Powery’s Welly’s Cool Spot topped Cassianne Lawrence’s Wolves for their first national women’s title. 

Local hoops now has its attention on the youth, particularly those in the PwC Under-16 Basketball League. The boys are playing their final regular season games on Thursday, at Camana Bay, as Wolves battle Bodden Town at 6pm with Kings facing Wesleyan Christian Academy 
at 7.15pm.  

The girls are in action on Saturday, 6 July, at the University College of the Cayman Islands multipurpose hall. At 5.30pm, Comets challenge Sparks before Lynx tussle with Monarchs at 6.45pm. 


Darryl Paddyfoot led Game Takers to victory.


David Taylor propelled Esso to a repeat championship. – PHOTOS: MATTHEW YATES

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