Basketball and netball in the Cayman Islands netted many high points this year.
Two proud moments on the international stage offered glimpses into the talent present on these shores. For basketball, Cayman now has three players – Jorge Ebanks, Jerome Narcisse and Lloyd Samuels – playing professional basketball in England. Narcisse and Samuels, both 26, would join Ebanks, 27, this summer at Tees Valley Mohawks, who compete in division one of the English Basketball League.
The partnership has gone well with the trio keeping Tees Valley in contention for the league playoffs after propelling the side to deep runs in the Mens National Trophy and National Cup competitions.
Netball made history by sending an Under-21 team to the 2013 World Youth Netball Championships in Scotland, finishing 17th out of 20 countries with three wins in seven games for the country’s debut at the competition. Cayman rebounded from heavy losses in the group stages – to host country Scotland, Jamaica, Wales and Samoa – to win their three consolation playoff matches over Ireland, Israel and Malta.
Domestically, Jameer Nelson graced local hoops with his presence at the annual Orlando Magic camp. A new three-on-three competition was added to the national calendar in the form of the Shooting Stars event, which attracted more than 100 players.
A number of local champions were crowned by the Cayman Islands Basketball Association as Welly’s Cool Spot claimed their first-ever national women’s title, the Esso Blazers repeated as division one men’s champions and the Game Takers nabbed the men’s division two trophy for the first time. On the youth side, Wesleyan Christian Academy dominated by earning the PwC Under-16 and the Dominos Under-19 Basketball League crowns. The Lynx won the girls titles for both competitions.
Rounding out the tournaments were the Department of Sports 2013 Corporate Basketball League and the Phil-Cay Basketball Tournament, also called the basketball association division three league.
Netball-wise, focus started on youth development with the introduction of the Cayman National Bank Turtle Netters program. From there, the Cayman Islands Netball Association 2013 Open League crowned winners as All Stars netball club repeated as national champions and this year the side claimed the Plate division trophy. Ernst and Young Hot Shots won division three. The Blazers would win the Camana Bay Summer Mixed League.
With Cayman scoring an abundance of kudos both away and at home, the court is set for more memories in 2014.