Charterland continue to be a powerhouse in local basketball.
The surveyors claimed their third championship in the last four years, beating rookie club Smoothie King in the division two finals of the Digicel National Men’s League. Charterland – the 2011 and 2012 champions – needed double-overtime but overcame the Filipino squad, 108-103, in game three of the best-of-three series at Camana Bay’s Arts and Recreation Center.
Point guard Ryne Staback had a team-high 23 points and 14 assists for the champs in his final game for the team before he leaves the Island this summer. The American says he wanted to maintain the club’s standard of success.
“It was a tough game, we put in a lot of hard work,” Staback said. “I do think I encouraged the guys a little bit. I’m sad to leave, I love this island but I’m glad to be leaving with the win. I spent the last two years with the team, I wasn’t there for the rest. I’m just happy we got the win because Charterland has a legacy of winning and I wanted to keep that going.”
Staback had help from a number of team mates. Jeremy Strickland scored 21 points with four 3-pointers and six rebounds, Will Koutney nabbed 19 points and 18 rebounds, Chris LeBeau contributed 17 points and eight rebounds and Brian Tang chipped in 10 points and two 3-pointers. Smoothie King countered with a game-high 27 points and nine rebounds from Andrew Diaz, 20 points and eight assists from John Paul Azul, 14 points off four 3-pointers from Michael Jacaban, 11 points and 13 rebounds from Jovert Macasling and 11 points from Jerrick Villestas.
Smoothie King, trying to make history as the first team in the Cayman Islands Basketball Association to win division three and division two consecutively, just fell short. At the end of the fourth quarter, Randy Estuesta hit the game-tying shot with the score at 85-85 before Macasling missed the potential game-winner. After a dramatic Staback 3-pointer with less than five seconds left in the first overtime, Macasling would miss another potential game-winning jumper.
In spite of some impressive long-range shooting from Jacaban, Smoothie King would stumble in the second overtime with Koutney and Staback nailing the decisive free throws. Koutney says the frantic pace to the game and the final result – which comes after a game one forfeit and a 88-77 game two victory – will be a talking point for his team for weeks to come.
“They have a lot of quickness and speed so we played a lot of help defense,” Koutney said. “We can get our points but that is a team that made it hard on us. It’s a great claim to fame, considering we’re a couple of old guys. The biggest thing for us is what happens outside the games as we all hang out off the court and are good friends. This is something to celebrate outside of the game as we’re a bunch of old guys that drink beer.
“Are we going for a repeat? Absolutely. Like the great Pat Riley once said, we’ll go to practice tomorrow. After the team celebrates of course. We’ll be here next year.”