Title on the line!
All-Stars, Jaguars square off in Flow NBL-West league
MONTEGO BAY, St James - Defending champions Catherine Hall All-Stars and undefeated and favourites Granville Jaguars will meet this evening in the finals of the Flow National Basketball League-West at the Montego Bay Cricket Club starting at 7:00pm. The highly anticipated game is a repeat of last year's finals when Catherine Hall upstaged favourites Granville to win the series two games to one.
This season there will be a one-game winner- takes -all and Granville will start favourites after running the tables by winning all 15 games played, scoring over 100 points on five occasions including once against All-Stars three weeks ago.
Catherine Hall who finished on 26 points and MoBay Hoopers who were third with 24, will all advance along with Granville Jaguars to the national play-offs while Sav Hawks who returned to the league this year, after a two year- break finished last with 16 points. Sav Halks had won their first two games but then failed to win another and will return to the Division One next season.
Both Granville and All-Stars finished their regular seasons with easy wins on Sunday, Granville beating Lucea Flames 66-55, while Catherine Hall eased to a 23 points, 74-51, win over Railway Lane Tigers.
Levar Rose led the way for Granville 16 points, while Leroy Lawrence had a double-double of 14 points and 16 rebounds along with two blocks and four assists.
Cordell Gordon, arguably the most improved player this season, had a game high 20 points and 15 rebounds for Lucea Flames, while Julian Walker scored 17 points for the Hanover club.
Catherine Hall who had clinched their spot on Saturday after Hoopers failed to beat Lucea used the game to prepare for today's showdown, beating Railway for the third time this season.
Marvin Powell, another player who has shown remarkable improvements this season, led Catherine Hall with a season high 24 points, one more than Vaughn Corke's 23.
Detroy Jewery led Railway with 14 points and six rebounds, while Omar Biggs scored 12 points and had seven steals.
Today, the regular season statistics could be thrown out the window, as if Catherine Hall turns up with their full squad, they could give Granville their first real test this time.
Catherine Hall has never faced Granville with a full starting five this season, and this could make all the difference against a Granville team that has shown marked improvements this season although showing signs that they can be beaten.
In Vaughn Corke, Goyan Malcolm and Powell, All-Stars can match the best that Granville has to offer in Dave Black, Rose and Lawrence.
Malcolm who was the MVP the last two seasons can be a handful and if he gets in a rhythm, Black could have to sacrifice his offence to keep him in check.
On the other hand, Granville will have the advantage in the low post with Lawrence and Andrew Whilby against Kurt Dorman and Jermaine Rerrie who while is still a top defensive player, will need to score if Catherine Hall is to have a chance of springing a surprise and retain their title.
The heated rivalry between both teams will add to the drama today as in all three games played earlier, tempers flared and players were ejected.
The result could come down to the team that manages to control their emotions better and execute in the clutch.