By Neto Baptiste
Northside Stingerz opened their best of five Playoff Finals series with a dominating 76-67 victory over former champions F&G Trading Cuties Ovals Ojays to take a 1-0 series lead at the JSC Basketball Complex.
Leroy Percival spurred Stingerz with his performance off the bench, scoring 22 points. He was assisted by Jermaine Bolden and Vivian Destin who had 20 and 16 points respectively. Destin also had 11 rebounds.
Coach of the Stingerz team, Michael Freeland, credited his players for giving an all-round performance.
“There is no Steph Curry, there is no Clay Thompson, there is no KD [Kevin Durant] there is no Kawhi Leonard on this team. It is a well-rounded team and anyone that steps up on any given night, we welcome it and we expect it but once the usual suspects continue to do what they are doing, like Vivian Destin and so forth, JJ [James Barbee Jr.], Moriba Defreitas — once they continue to produce and do what they are doing and giving us that consistency then, for sure, when you have games like Leroy or Dragon [Keroi Lee] who steps up and goes off, then it is very difficult to beat us,” he said.
In a losing effort for Ojays, Jermaine Bolden had 20 points with Joel Mackintosh and Marlon Charles contributing 14 and 12 points, respectively.
Veteran player, Bryan Matthew, who had only four points on Sunday, said the team’s performance was lacking.
“They wanted it more than us last night [Sunday]. They were more aggressive, they were quicker to the ball and we just have to look inside ourselves and ask ourselves if we really want it that bad. We have to come back and make a better effort ourselves and show a better effort come tomorrow night,” he said.
“We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well and that wasn’t us and you look at the game and what they did and if we, as a team, had done two things better like made half of the free-throws that we missed or if we made two of the lay-ups that we missed, we would be talking about something different right now so I am not really disheartened,” he added.
The teams will clash in game two of the five-game series on Tuesday night at the same venue. The game is scheduled to start at 8:30 pm.