After a dominant campaign, the Bodden Town Wolves are eager to replicate the feat.
Bodden Town finished an unbeaten season in the Dominos Under-19 Basketball League by beating the John Gray High School Knights, 72-60. The boys division final, organized by the Cayman Islands Basketball Association, took place at Camana Bay’s Arts and Recreation Center last Saturday in front of a full house – with Wolves supporters dominating the atmosphere.
Albis Amaya, 16, had a team-high 22 points and 27 rebounds. The Savannah resident says his squad have the pieces to repeat next season.
“The finals went great, it was the greatest final in my basketball career,” Amaya said. “The team did well in this championship game. I know I played great in the finals and throughout the season. I knew no one could stop me and I came out playing my game and keeping it Tim Duncan-style. Not only did I play great, the players around me did a hell of a job contributing to this season and I’m really proud of them.
“We’re definitely going to repeat next year. This team is full of talent. These guys showed me this season that they are capable of being champions in the upcoming years.”
Amaya had help from teammate Justin Collins – who scored 21 points with four 3-pointers, 10 rebounds, eight steals – and Rhomar Williams, who netted 12 points and 11 rebounds. The Knights countered with a game-high 26 points and seven steals from Trevin Williamson, 22 points with three 3-pointers and five rebounds from James Ebanks and 10 points from Bryce Thompson.
Last Saturday’s victory allowed Bodden Town to complete a perfect 10-0 campaign, which featured an 8-0 regular season mark that resulted in the No. 1 seed. In their playoff opener, the Wolves blew out the fourth seed 1-7 John Gray Warriors by a score of 115-23. Jamel Winton led the charge with 23 points, Collins added 20 points, Amaya and Javon Seymour each had 14 points, while Michael Brooks and Duncan Anderson each contributed 10 points. The Warriors leaned on Joshua Smith, who had eight points.
It should be noted the champs are a result of two local clubs joining forces. Head coach Duran “Trini” Whittaker of the Wolves and assistant coach James Collins of Bodden Town only had a handful of players in the offseason before deciding to merge and create one team. Collins says the quick success did not happen overnight.
“The final was a tough match in the early going, however Trini and I prepared a game plan that we were confident would work,” Collins said. “We have a great inside-outside combo. Our defensive system has been the bread and butter to victory all season. Our team worked extremely hard, training four times a week. Coach Trini and I would like to thank all the persons who helped behind the scenes.
“Next season will be tough as we have several players leaving to attend high school in the States, as well as college. But we will strive to defend our title.”
The Knights, meanwhile, will look to stay together under coach Huey Crawford. The 2014 season, as a whole, was the most successful for John Gray as an institution in years, and Crawford’s crew were a consistent threat throughout. John Gray had the second seed after a 5-3 regular season mark and upset reigning champions Soldiers – affiliated with West Bay-based Wesleyan Christian Academy – by a score of 69-60 in its playoff opener.
Williamson led the winners with 26 points and 10 rebounds, followed by 20 points from James Ebanks and 11 points from Thompson. The Soldiers featured 13 points from Joshua Ebanks-Brown, Josh Fehr and Jerome Bailey (who also had 12 rebounds), with Alexander Thompson adding 12 points.
Amaya was the focal point of the Soldiers last season, taking the regular season and Finals MVP trophies, before leaving for the Wolves. Amaya says he will be on the move again.
“My next step is next year I’m going overseas to play high school basketball. I don’t know which school, I have many options right now. By January, I’ll have a final decision.”
While the focus is deservedly on the Wolves and Knights, the girls division also wrapped up last Saturday – with the Lynx emerging champions for the second straight year. The Lynx beat the Comets, 36-27, thanks to 13 points from Khailan O’Connor and 11 points from Melissa Bridgemohan. Sashante Lawrence-Wilks was top scorer for the Comets with eight points.
The Lynx repeat was no surprise, after topping the regular season standings at 6-3. All the other teams were just 3-6. In their playoff opener, the Lynx squeezed by the Monarchs, 66-63, as O’Connor went off for 30 points and 19 rebounds, and Kaitelyann McKenzie scored 12 points. Guiesha Smith notched 25 points and 32 rebounds for the Monarchs, Vania Cornwall and Kacie Ramos each contributed 11 points, and Kayla Mitchell added 10 points.
Comets booked their finals berth with a 42-41 win over DREAM. Olivia Samuels led the winners with 16 points and 17 rebounds, while Alicia Turner chipped in 14 points and 13 rebounds. Kimberli Ebanks led DREAM with 16 points and 22 rebounds, and Alessandra Hawkins nabbed 12 points and 13 rebounds.