History on the court does not favor the Dominos Warriors.
A third straight finals encounter with the Sol Blazers has not started well, as a 22-point game one thrashing has set the stage for a second sweep and a third consecutive championship game defeat. Yet Warriors head coach Shomari Scott insists the record books, which show the 2011 title winners are making their fifth finals appearance in a row, do not weigh heavily on his club.
“This season has a little different feel with a shorter rotation,” Scott said. “We’re not short in height but numbers. We have three new players in the starting five. The last two years we played to the Blazers’ tempo and we have some different looks to show. We’ve been in multiple title games and we’re hungrier than they are. There’s not a lot of similarities between this team and previous teams, we have different players.
“Jerome Narcisse brings tenacity to the team and he is one of our best defenders. He has played much better on D compared to the past two finals and grown his attitude to the game. He has grown his leadership on the court. As you know, we have long-tenured players like Collin Anglin and he has inspired them.
“We also have Christian (Ferrer), Chris (Lucas) and Collin (Bodden), who are new this year but not new to the team. Our pace is different, our attitude is different and it’s all to make sure we can have two of the last five championships.”
Camana Bay’s Arts and Recreation Center hosts game two of the division one finals for the Digicel National Men’s League on June 1 at 6:30 p.m. Sol crushed Dominos, 97-75, in game one of the best-of-three series thanks to 25 points and eight rebounds from Kevin Maxwell, 24 points and 10 rebounds from Sammy O’Garro, 20 points and 14 rebounds from Shaad O’Garro and 12 points and seven assists from Perry Levy.
The Warriors countered with 33 points and 12 rebounds from Jerome Narcisse; 19 points and nine rebounds from Collin Anglin; 13 points and seven rebounds from Christian Ferrer; and 10 points and nine rebounds from Chris Lucas.
Narcisse was expected to be the star after spending most of the year playing semi-professional basketball for the Tees Valley Mohawks in England. The West Bay native says his biggest contribution has been adding mental toughness.
“I think I fit in fine and set the tone,” Narcisse said. “I get a little too aggressive but it’s all about our attitude and toughness. I try to get our players energized and I think I’m a big help. The biggest issue with the team is toughness. Going after those dead balls and whatnot, we were a nonchalant team, but we have to play tough and play hard.”
While Narcisse has been as good as advertised, the same cannot be said for his supporting cast. Incredibly, Dominos played game one with no substitutes and only five players as much of their frontcourt were absent for personal reasons. While Andre Scott gave commendable effort throughout, veteran forwards Rotando Thompson, Antonio Thompson and Kenval Bryan were sorely missed. Based on the interior dominance Sol enjoyed, the Warriors will need an almost Herculean effort from their big men to force game three on June 8.
Anglin said regardless of the personnel, Sol have proven over the years to be a handful in the paint.
“We knew Sol were a good team before but, just like the last two seasons, when their foreign players come back they are a different team,” Anglin said. “We had Jerome come back and that was good for us. We know Sol like to run and we’re in better shape than last year but they might have the edge in that.
“We have good shooters that can hit 3-pointers. Collin (Bodden) helps Kenval out with our rebounding and shot blocking presence, but Sol can clean the glass well. You don’t have much people in this league that can hinder that and guys like Kevin (Maxwell), who are big inside.”