The perennial contenders have enjoyed high playoff seeds over the last half decade, with four straight finals appearance and one championship capping off that success. Dominos, the third seed at 7-3, can boast a fifth consecutive shot at a championship if they can get by 8-2 Caledonian Lions, the No. 2 seed, in game three of their best-of-three series in the division one playoffs of the Digicel National Men’s League.
Camana Bay’s Arts and Recreation Center hosts the contest on May 18 at 5:30 p.m.
Warriors forward Chris Lucas played a significant role in many of those postseason runs and says a 2014 breakthrough depends on controlling Caledonian’s pace.
“As a team we feel like we have a shot, we have to think so or else what’s the point of playing the game?” Lucas said. “We’ve made a few adjustments from last week, we’re sure they have too. We got to do what we have done all season and control the tempo. We started out game two doing what we wanted to do but as the game progressed, we played at their tempo. We have to keep the game within our pace at all times. Both teams are ironman squads, which is unusual. We’re running with 6-7 guys while most teams are five-deep on their bench.”
Lucas played a huge role in his club’s 99-67 victory in game one with 17 points and eight rebounds. Warriors captain Collin Anglin led all scorers with 33 points and four 3-pointers, Jerome Narcisse posted 23 points and 11 rebounds and Christian Ferrer scored 10 points and five rebounds. Caledonian countered with 24 points and 24 rebounds from Borislav ‘Boka’ Djordjic, 16 points from Vanrick Felix and 10 points from John White.
In game two’s 87-85 defeat last Sunday, Lucas had 13 points and nine rebounds. Narcisse led the club with 27 points and 11 rebounds, Anglin added 26 points and five 3-pointers and Ferrer contributed 15 points and eight rebounds. The Lions enjoyed 30 points and 15 rebounds from Djordjic, 13 points from Felix, 12 points from White, 11 points each from Milos Martinovic and Kobi Dorenbush and 10 points from Daniel Mowatt.
The added production from Caledonian’s role players in the second contest is a major concern in Lucas’s mind.
“Any one of the guys on our squad can go off. Every single guy on each team is a threat, every single player on the roster is someone to watch. We can’t let any of them go because they’re hitting shots. They had six players in double figures, you’re at a disadvantage anytime that happens.”
As the statistical similarities would indicate, both sides match up well against each other. Sharp shooting and dynamic scoring is a calling card for both clubs and it is no surprise the series is going the distance. Personnel-wise, there is also familiarity between the two sides as Caledonian has a number of former Warriors such as Djordjic, Felix and Jeremy Varlow.
For Ferrer, the winning squad will be the one that asserts itself most.
“I personally prefer high scoring games and I guarantee it will be a nice scoring game that goes shot for shot,” Ferrer said. “The first game against Caledonian was Warriors’s game as we put up the plays and did the things we have done all season long. Game two was Caledonian’s game as half of their scores were 3-pointers and they controlled the boards. We were stagnant and tentative, which is not how we played in the season when we passed quickly, 2-3 times, before baskets were scored.
“As a team we are confident we can get the victory. At practice we cleaned up the miscommunication from game two and focused on what we did in game one. We did not do enough things but we just lost the game by two points. The key to winning in game three is doing what we do best. I’d say in game three, whoever sets the pace and executes their game first will win the series. It’s been exciting and with the other series – Sol Blazers versus Silver Bullets – also going to a third game it will be an exciting time on Sunday.”
The Blazers and Bullets will play game three of their series on May 18 at 4 p.m.