Warriors, Blazers win playoff openers

Deandre Simpson helped the Warriors stay undefeated.

The Cayman Islands Basketball Association’s Division I men’s 2018 play-offs began Tuesday, 24 April, with Crypto Warriors and Sol Blazers taking the early advantage in the two semi-final series.

In the first game at the John Gray High School Gymnasium, top-seeded Warriors defeated Maples 87-77 although the score did not reflect the vast difference between the two teams.

After leading 47-42 at the half, Warriors pulled away to a 20-point lead midway through the third quarter and maintained that gap to end the period 71-51. Maples were held to nine points in the frame.

With the reserves taking much of the fourth quarter action for Warriors, Maples clawed back to make it a respectable score in the end.

Tikko Moore (26 pts) and Omari Corbin (24 pts) led the scoring for Crypto Warriors. Jamaal Miller had a game-high 31 points and seven rebounds, Ken Silva added 22 points and Damoin Powell posted a double-double with 11 points and 16 rebounds for Maples.

“I think the guys were a little nervous coming out the gate and that gave Maples a lot of confidence and made them believe that they can hang with us,” Warriors’ Deandre Simpson told reporters afterward.

“We had an interesting time out and our coach said we had to step it up and show them why we went undefeated in the league. We just turned things around after that,” the national player added.

In the other series, it was a rematch of last season’s finals with Peachwave taking on the defending champions, Sol Blazers.

Joshua Dikau had an all-round solid game for Sol Blazers.

Peachwave started purposefully and took a15-6 lead during the first quarter before Sol Blazers rallied to take an 18-15 lead with 1:36 remaining. Blazers looked comfortable, with Joshua Dikua and Samuel O’Garro taking the initiative to press to a 44-36 halftime lead.

The champs were in cruise control through the third and early fourth quarter, sporting a 75-55 lead with six minutes left in the game.

After a falling out between coach Redever Ebanks and his players that saw the coach leaving the bench, last season’s runners-up dug deep to find motivation and battled back to trim the deficit to single digits with 2:01 left on the clock.

Not giving up, Peachwave hung in there and were within a basket of tying the game when Davion Cotterell cut into the lane and made a layup with 5.7 seconds to have the scoreboard read 83-80. There was not enough time to script a comeback and that’s the way the game ended.

Peter Grant was an active scorer for Peachwave.

Dikua, who ended with 18 points, 16 rebounds and six assists, said his team needed to keep their foot on the gas and maintain their intensity for the full 40 minutes. “We just laid off a bit. We just have to stay in attack mode the whole game…we just got to play the whole game, all four quarters. We’re a championship team and that’s what we should be doing,” he said in a post-game interview.

Samuel O’Garro led the Blazers with 20 points, including making four of 10 attempts from beyond the arc. Peter Grant led Peachwave with 18 points, five assists and three steals, while Cotterell added 14 points.

The second games of both series will be at the same venue on Tuesday, 1 May.

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  1. Pingback: Warriors, Blazers sweep into Div 1 finals – Cayman Sports Buzz

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