U19’s talent impresses hoops coach

Bryce Thompson goes up for the reverse layup in the U19 All Star game.

Cayman Islands Basketball Association Technical Director Victor O’Garro is looking to the future with optimism following the conclusion of the under-19 girls’ and boys’ leagues in last month. This is based on the quality of play and the fact that many of the players are young enough that they have time to develop their skills as they take their games higher.

“I see quite a bit of younger players participating, players between the ages of 14 to 16. In the Under-19 league, we have a total of about six or seven players who are over 17 years old. So, that augers well for the development of the league,” O’Garro told CaymanSportsBuzz.com.

The 2016 leagues climaxed with the championship games on 10 December at the Clifton Hunter High School Gym.

In the boys’ game, Kings beat Frequent Flyers 104-95 to win the crown, led by a 36 point-11 rebound performance from Bryce Thompson and 37 points from David Swan. Joshua O’Garro packed the stat-sheet for Flyers with 40 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists and seven steals.

Two Women of Valour teams battled it out for the girls’ title. Double-doubles from Jade Wheeler and Julissa Soto led WV Courage over WV Fearless. Wheeler has 12 points and 13 rebounds, while Soto had 10 points and 15 rebounds. Lashawntae Robinson also had 12 points and seven steals for Courage. Guiesha Smith had 17 points and nine rebounds for Fearless.

The young players had a blast during the All Star game.

A week later, the players returned to the court for the all-star game.

In a keen contest, an all-round performance saw “Team 2” outlast “Team 1” for a 67-61 win. Iain Mac Rae scored a game-high 16 points to lead “Team 2”, while Tareque Simpson added 10 points and five rebounds, and Joshua O’Garro had nine points and five rebounds. DarrenKirchman posted a double-double for “Team 1” with 15 points and 11 rebounds, while John Smith scored 13, and Deonte Andrews had 12 points, seven rebounds and three steals.

“All-in-all, I see the future being bright,” O’Garro said during the halftime break of the all-star game.

“We have about seven players abroad, who could be playing in this league but they are in high school internationally. It shows that in the future, when all of these players return, our basketball will really be developing,” he added.

O’Garro also expects the under-19 players to feed into the senior national team, making those squads stronger.

While he’s happy with the talent on the court, Coach Voot said he wants to see the players work on their knowledge of the game. “Physically they are okay but the in-depth knowledge of the game – the when, the how, the why – we need to spend a little more time on that. They play but impulsively a lot. What we are trying to get them to understand are the intricacies of the game, so we are working on that.”

He plans to have many of the best of the under-19 boys form a team to compete in the senior men in Division 2 when the season begins in a few weeks.

Under 19 All Stars from both teams with their coaches.

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