Warriors, Blazers sweep into Div 1 finals

Crypto Warriors and Sol Blazers set up an intriguing showdown between this season’s hottest team in the 2018 Cayman Islands Basketball Association’s men’s league and the back-to-back defending champions for the right to call themselves kings of the court.

Both sides brushed aside their opponents with 2-0 semifinal series wins to book their spots in the title round.

Playing at the John Gray High School gymnasium on 1 May, Warriors never looked back after going on an 8-0 run to take a 17-7 lead late in the first quarter against Maples. The buckets kept piling up and the lead expanded to 39-19 by the half. With the lead stretched to 33 points in the third quarter, Warriors had the luxury of mixing up their rotation, as they cruised to an 80-43 win.

Warriors also continued their undefeated run through the season and post-season.

“It’s good. We haven’t been to the finals in a couple of years. We’re happy to be here,” said guard Collin Anglin who had 10 points, five assists and three steals in the close out game.

Jameson Tipping had an active night with a team-high 17 points to go along with six rebounds and four assists. Kenval Bryan hauled in 12 rebounds to go with nine points.

“We’ve done some good recruiting this year and they made. We’ve got a good mixture of experience and young legs in here, so we feel good going into the finals…but we know they’re not going to hand it to us. It’s definitely going to be a tough series in the finals,” the veteran said.

Anglin added that although Maples did not provide much of a threat to Warriors’ perfect season, the series was useful to staying sharp with an aim to hoist the trophy at the end of the playoffs.

“Sometimes when you realise you’re a bit stronger than the other team, you can play a bit lackadaisically, which doesn’t really help you especially when you know that your next series is going to be a very tough one. It was really about us trying to stay focused, execute our offense, work on our defense – because that’s what really wins championships. That was really our focus for these two games,” he said in an interview with CaymanSportsBuzz.com.

Deandre Simpson scores two the fashionable way for Warriors.

In the later game, Sol Blazers got the better of Peachwave in a fairly lopsided game that betrayed how close both teams actually are. Blazers sported a 23-10 advantage after the first quarter and led 47-21 at the half.

With a comfortable lead in the third, Blazers lowered their intensity, while Peachwave did their best to trigger a comeback. Peachwave outscored Blazers 14-13 in the frame but saw them still trail 60-36 heading into the final quarter. It was 76-54 when the final buzzer sounded, as the Blazers continue their quest for a third straight title.

“We just wanted to stay focused on improve on the mistakes we made last game. We started off pretty strong. We won this game on momentum the beginning. We came out strong and made sure that we locked down on defense and made nothing easy for them,” said Samuel O’Garro, who led the Blazers balanced attack with 15 points and five assists.

Joshua Dikua had another solid game, posting a double-double with 12 points and 15 rebounds. He also had five assists.

The finals are scheduled to begin on 15 May.

Game 1 recaps:

Warriors, Blazers win playoff openers

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