iSmart Astros are kings of summer hoops

The newly formed iSmart Astros have quickly established themselves as a force to be reckoned with in Cayman Islands basketball, having been crowned the kings of the 2018 basketball summer league. They defeated Sol Blazers 62-53 in the finals of the competition at Camana Bay’s Arts and Recreation Centre Tuesday night (14 August).

In a close battle throughout the first and second half, it appeared destined for a tight finish, but Astros took a 55-48 edge on Juawon Ebanks pull-up jumper with 3:03 remaining and never looked back.

Ebanks was key in the close-out run, hitting big buckets down the stretch. He scored 17 points, including four-of-five from behind the arc. The young guard also had three assists and a pair of boards.

“Blazers is a five-time champion [of the national men’s league], so we had to come out and defend. We worked hard,” said Davion Cotterell, who was named Most Valuable Player of the finals after posting a game high 21 points, along with five steals, two rebounds, two blocks and an assist.

Cotterell on Cotterell crime: MVP Davion with block on Josh.

He said the mindset was “just come out and play defence, try to shut down their best players’ offence…and we just did out best.”

Cotterell credited an all-round team effort for the victory. “We have good players…we came out and worked hard. Everyone played their part and we did what we had to do,” he said.

Captain Ed Pellot-Rosa, who had 11 points and eight rebounds, was full of praise for his squad.

“I’m very impressed with the guys; they were very composed. We came out with the intensity that was expected, as we did all season long…played solid defence and made some good stops. We came on a good run to close the game out in the second half. We put this team together last minute and we came together and had a good showing all around,” he said.

Other contributors for iSmart Astros were Jake Whittaker: 11 points and nine rebounds; and Jerome Narcise, who despite only scoring three points, was active in other areas, grabbing five rebounds and dishing four assists.

Sol Blazers, a team full of firepower, were unable to answer the defensive questions asked of them and were made to work for every bucket. Guard Peter Grant had a team-high 12 points, with three of five 3-point shooting, and two assists.

Other contributors were Samuel O’Garro: 11 points, three assists, two rebounds; Joshua Cotterell: 11 points; Adam Milburn: nine points, six rebounds; Kevin Maxwell: six points, eight rebounds; and Shaad O’Garro: four points, seven rebounds, three assists, two blocks.

Pellot-Rosa, who is also the head coach of the national team, told that he’s hyped about the level of play he’s been seeing in the local leagues. “We’re on the rise,” he said. “We’ve got good momentum coming from the Island Games [last year] and we’re trying to build on that and win gold again next year and keep the gold in Cayman for as long as possible.”

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.