As local basketball heads into its offseason, it is worth a look back at some of the key performers.
The Cayman Islands Basketball Association recently wrapped up its PwC Under-16 League, with boys and girls divisions, and its Digicel National Men’s League, which featured divisions one and two. Matches took place over the last few months at Camana Bay’s Arts and Recreation Center.
On the boys side of the youth competition, the Thunder were the dominant team – with their championship capping an unbeaten run. Star big man Albis Amaya was the scoring champion, averaging 19.6 points per game. Amaya beat out Bryce Thompson of the John Gray High School Knights, averaging 15.3 points. Fellow Knights player Trevin Williamson averaged 15.6 points (he played one less game and scored 13 fewer points), Arin Taylor of the Thunder averaged 12.3 points and Justin Collins of Bodden Town averaged 13.9 points (he played one game less than Taylor).
Amaya was also the rebounding champion, with 13.5. Williamson of the Knights was second, averaging 8.7 rebounds, Gregory Allen-Cardenas of team Bodden Town placed third with eight per game on average, Dimitri Levy of the Thunder averaged 6.8 rebounds and Michael Brooks of Bodden Town averaged seven per game (in one less game than Levy).
Taylor of the Thunder was the assists champion, averaging 4.5. Thompson of the Knights averaged 3.6 assists, Juawon Ebanks averaged five in five games, Collins of Bodden Town averaged 3.4, and Joshua O’Garro of the Kings did not miss a game and averaged 2.3 assists.
Williamson of the Knights was named the Best Defensive Player with 38 steals and eight blocks. Taylor of the Thunder was second with 39 steals, O’Garro of the Kings was third with 39, and Ebanks of the Thunder produced 35 steals and four blocks. Thompson of the Knights was named the Most Improved Player, going from two points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game in 2013 to averaging 15.4 points, two rebounds, 3.6 assists and 3.8 steals per contest in 2014.
Collins of Bodden Town was second in that group, averaging 14 points, 3.3 rebounds and one assist last year before averaging 13.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists this year. Brooks of Bodden Town averaged 6.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists in 2013 before averaging 11.4 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 2014.
As a result, Williamson was named Rookie of the Year, while Amaya earned the regular season and Finals Most Valuable Player awards.
In the girls division, the Lynx were the surprise champions after a 2-7 record during the regular season. The scoring champion was Guiesha Smith of the Monarchs with 26.7 points per game. Khailan O’Connor of the Lynx was second, averaging 15.4 points, Kimberli Ebanks of Dream averaged 11.5 points, Alicia Turner of the Comets averaged 10.9 points and Joan Ebanks of Comets averaged 10.1 points.
Turner of the Comets was the assists champion, averaging 2.3. Kacie Ramos of the Monarchs averaged 2.1 assists, Ebanks of Dreams averaged 1.8, Josannah Watson of Dream averaged 1.6, and Allyssa Connor averaged 1.1.
Ebanks of Dream was rebounding champion with 18.6 rebounds per game, Smith of Monarchs averaged 18.1, Watson of Dream averaged 10.3, Yolanni Manzanares of Dream averaged 8.5, and Turner of the Comets averaged 8.4 rebounds. Amanda Stone of the Comets was named Best Defensive Player with 25 steals, 19 blocks and 35 defensive rebounds, while O’Connor of the Lynx was second with 31 steals, 13 blocks and 32 defensive rebounds.
Ebanks of Dream was named the Most Improved Player as she averaged 6.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 0.2 assists last season before improving to 11.5 points, 18.6 rebounds, four steals and 1.8 assists on average in 2014. Angelina Brown of the Lynx was the Rookie of the Year, averaging 2.6 points and 5.7 rebounds. Smith of the Monarchs, who led the league in blocks with 3.6 blocks per game and averaged 2.3 steals, was named regular season MVP, and O’Connor of the Lynx was the Finals MVP.
In division two of the men’s league, Charterland emerged the winners for a third time. Darrell Paddyfoot of NEC Titans was scoring champion, averaging 20.1 points. Andrew Diaz of Smoothie King was second, averaging 19 points, followed by Juawon Ebanks of Juniors averaging 17.9 points, John Louie Calara of team Philippines averaging 16.6 points and Arin Taylor of Juniors averaging 16.1 points. Paddyfoot of NEC Titans won the rebounding title, averaging 14.9 rebounds.
Daniel Britton of Cayman Islands Hoopsters was second, averaging 11.9 rebounds, with Albis Amaya of Juniors averaging 10.9 rebounds, Kadane Hall of Titans averaging 12 rebounds and Travis Barnes of Sol Blazers averaging 10.1 rebounds.
Ryne Staback of Charterland was assists champion, averaging 6.6 assists. John Paul Azul of Smoothie King averaged 6.7 assists in fewer games than Staback. Ebanks of Juniors averaged 4.3 assists, Jeremy Strickland of Charterland averaged 5.2 assists in five games and Taylor of Juniors averaged 3.3 assists.
Ebanks of Junior was named Best Defensive Player with 32 steals, beating out Naithique Jackson of the Hoopsters with 24 steals, seven blocks, and Taylor of Juniors had 29 steals.
Taylor of Juniors was deemed Most Improved Player – averaging 5.3 points, 1.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists last year and improving to 16.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 4.1 steals per game this year. Ebanks of Juniors was second, averaging 8.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists in 2013 before averaging 17.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 4.6 steals in 2014. Jackson of the Hoopsters averaged 5.8 points, 1.4 rebounds, 0.5 assists last year before averaging 14.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 3.4 steals this year.
Diaz of Smoothie King, who averaged 4.4 rebounds, two steals and two assists, was Rookie of the Year, ahead of team mate Azul, who averaged 3.5 rebounds and two steals. Britton of Hoopsters averaged nine points. Paddyfoot of Titans was regular season MVP, while Will Koutney of Charterland was Finals MVP.
In division one, the Sol Blazers emerged as champions for a third straight year. A press conference to announce the various category winners and award Sol with championship rings – a first for Cayman basketball – will take place at a later date.