Hoops prodigies make playoff push

Youth basketball is gearing up for the postseason.

The Dominos Pizza Under-19 Basketball League is staging its final regular season games this week. The boys segment takes center stage on Thursday, Dec. 5, as the Wesleyan Griffins battle John Gray High School at 6 p.m. and the Bodden Town Reapers challenge the Wolves at 7:15 p.m. Both contests are at the Cayman Islands Basketball Association Court off Eastern Avenue.

Action will pick up on Saturday, December 7, as the Esso Blazers square off with the Wesleyan Soldiers at 3:30 p.m. at Camana Bay’s Arts and Recreation Center. Saturday also features the girls division at Camana Bay, with Lynx taking on Sparks at 4:45 p.m. and Monarchs facing Comets at 6 p.m.

Playoff seeding will weigh heavy for Thursday’s games. The Griffins are third at 8-6 and desperate to avoid a first round match-up with the top seed while 0-13 John Gray have yet to taste victory this year. Wesleyan are coming off a 60-57 win over the Esso Blazers last Saturday. Alex Thompson scored 17 points and eight rebounds while Eric Rivers posted 15 points and eight rebounds. Javon Seymour led Esso with 17 points and three 3-pointers, Aaron Mackey netted 14 points, Oscar Rivers registered 12 points and 11 rebounds and Franz Manderson Jr. nabbed 11 points and 15 rebounds.

At 9-5, reigning champion Wolves are firmly in the playoff mix with the 3-10 Reapers out of contention a long time ago. Wolves are coming off a 76-61 win over John Gray last Thursday. Norman Solomon had 16 points and eight rebounds for the winners, teammate Jonathan Parchment posted 16 points and six rebounds, Joshua Ebanks-Brown contributed 15 points and Rhomar Williams chipped in 14 points and nine rebounds. For John Gray, Abdull Patterson registered 16 points, Roy Ebanks nabbed 12 points and 10 rebounds, John Bodden scored 12 points and Bryce Thompson netted 10 points and seven steals.

Saturday’s Soldiers-Blazers game is also significant. With Wesleyan a perfect 14-0 and Esso 7-7, the No. 1 versus No. 4 clash could be a playoff preview. The Soldiers are riding high after a 79-28 thrashing of Bodden Town last Saturday. Juawon Ebanks led Wesleyan with 19 points and nine rebounds, Arin Taylor scored 11 points and Tim Corbett posted 10 points. Justin Collins notched 13 points for the Reapers.

The girls category also has some drama with the Sparks and Lynx, both 7-3, battling for the top seed. The Sparks edged the Comets, 58-52, last week with April Ebanks scoring 31 points, 30 rebounds and seven steals and Alessandra Hawkins posting eight points and seven rebounds. Chloe Powery guided the 2-8 Comets with 37 points and 12 rebounds while Khadijah Lewin notched 13 points. The Lynx are coming off a narrow 47-46 victory over the 3-7 Monarchs. Khailan O’Connor scored 31 points and eight steals with Amanda Stone netting eight points and 14 rebounds. Guiesha Smith posted 12 points and 16 rebounds for the losing team with Kacie Ramos contributing 10 points.

Playoff matches begin next Tuesday, Dec. 10, with the finals for both divisions next Saturday.