One of youth basketball’s biggest surprises is the dominance of Wesleyan Christian Academy.
The West Bay school has competed in the Dominos Pizza Under-19 Basketball League for years, often playing second fiddle to other clubs. Now, Wesleyan boasts an undefeated 6-0 Soldiers squad atop the standings and a 4-2 Griffins side that sits in second place.
Bruce Reynolds coaches both Wesleyan teams alongside Jonathan Powery and he said his players are exceeding expectations.
“With the Griffins, our B team, no one expected us to do what we’re doing,” Reynolds said. “The Soldiers, our A team, are playing well. Our guys are committed and put in the work. We can only expect the results we have been getting with such commitment. Both the Soldiers and Griffins are going to do very well.”
The Soldiers are in action tonight against 3-3 Wolves at 6 p.m. at the association court off Eastern Avenue. The other contest at 7:15 p.m. pits 0-5 John Gray High School against the 3-3 Esso Blazers.
The Wolves are coming off a 69-51 victory over the Griffins last Thursday. Jamel Winton stepped up with 16 points and five steals for the defending champions, with Rhomar Williams adding 13 points and nine rebounds and Joshua Ebanks-Brown contributing 13 points and three rebounds.
Stewart Watt chipped in 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Meanwhile, Eric Lopez led the Griffins with 20 points and 14 rebounds, while Jimmy Clarke posted 17 points and 17 rebounds.
The Soldiers annihilated Esso, 96-18, last Thursday as Naithique Jackson went off for 21 points and Albis Amaya recorded 17 points and 18 rebounds. Arin Taylor scored 15 points and seven steals and Juawon Ebanks posted 14 points and five steals. Javon Seymour was Esso’s only threat with 12 points.
Aside from Seymour, other Blazers could shine tonight. Franz Manderson Jr., in particular, could play a key role as he ranks third in rebounding, averaging 13 boards a game and third in blocks, with seven. John Gray might not have a win, but the side has talent. James Ebanks ranks in the top 10 in scoring with 13.2 points per game and Bryce Thompson averages 9.8 ppg.
League matches will continue on Saturday at Camana Bay’s Arts and Recreation Center as they are set to showcase the girls division. Lynx continue to be the frontrunners (they were 4-0 as of Oct. 12). Khailan O’Connor leads the league in scoring with 27.3 ppg and teammate Hannah Parchment ranks fourth at 16.0 ppg.