By Carlena Knight
‘More depth’ is what Coach Michael Freeland identified as the difference in his team’s, Northside Stingers, current success.
Stingers thus far remain as the only undefeated team in the 1st Division of the Antigua and Barbuda Basketball Association (ABBA) league. The men in green handed defending champions, F and G Trading Cuties Ovals Ojays, their first loss of the season on ‘Super Sunday’ night at JSC beating them 80-69.
Stingers are now 7-0.
“A win is a win, and we still remain undefeated, and no matter how you get that win, it’s always a pleasure. One can say that ‘hey, we defeated the defending champions. This is a continuation of what transpired last year in the playoffs, and as I keep telling persons the difference between last year and this year is that there’s more depth in the squad. Where in last year, you know we had to rely on a core of individuals to carry the load, this year is not the case. We have much better depth and you can definitely trust the players to go in and do what they have to do.”
Captain Vivian “Boast” Destin led the victors, scoring 21 points and nine rebounds with assistance from Keroi “Dragon” Lee who sank 20 points and 12 rebounds, and Trinidadian, Moriba Defreitas, who netted 12 and grabbed 14 rebounds.
The man of the match, however arguably, was Leroy Percival who had 12 points and 14 rebounds. It was his lock-down defense on Ovals marksman, Bryan “Hollywood” Matthew in the second half that was most commendable.
Freeland shared similar sentiments on Percival’s performance.
“Well Leroy has always been a staple in the side and he played very well last season but he suffered with some back [and] knee problems and this year we are just trying to keep him as healthy as possible because we know he is a key factor down the stretch especially in the playoffs and especially against a team like Ovals.
“Every time we play Ovals, he has been one of those who standout. Last year when you look at his numbers in the playoffs and regular season, he has been one of the key persons down low in the post and last night was no different, so we are always trying to keep Leroy healthy especially for these types of games,” added Freeland.
Matthew had 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Ojays with teammates Joshua Minner netting 12, N’Kenge “Beef” Drew 11, and Raviel Burton 10, in a losing effort.
Potters Steelers got the hump off their back that night defeating one of the ‘big teams,’ Flyers Basketball 98-93.
Lindsay McDonald led Steelers Nation with a game-high 25 points. He was assisted by Kareem “Macky” Edwards who made 20 and Cohen DeSouza who sank 16.
Coach Harold “Bobby” Joseph commended not only his players but his coaching staff on a job well done.
“I got to give it up to the rest of the coaching staff – Moses and all the other coaches, they come out every night and encourage the guys about executing and working as one unit. Yes, although many deem this team as one of the big teams, I personally do not underestimate any team in this competition, but it feels good to pull off this win.”
Sharife Sergeant had 21 points and 10 rebounds for the orange men with assistance from Xavier “Xman” Meade who made 20.
Kwame Brathwaite chipped in scoring 15 and grabbing 10 rebounds.