By Neto Baptiste
Division One basketball playoff hopefuls, LJ Stingerz, said winning this year’s finals would solidify their place amongst the top guns in local basketball.
This is according to the coach, and one founding member of the Stingerz outfit, Michael Freeland, who said the team has come a long way since being promoted to the top tier of basketball.
“This is our fourth year being in the First Division, a young club and considered one of the top clubs in the First Division. So not only would it speak well for the Stingerz organisation, but it will speak well for basketball, because next year now people will be looking at dominant champions in basketball whether it’s Ovals, Flyers, Stingerz or Braves, so having new champions in basketball, bringing new fans to basketball will only get better for basketball,” he said.
His comments come on the heels of an 81-71 victory over F&G Trading Cuties Ovals Ojays on Sunday, levelling their best-of-five series 2-2 with the deciding clash slated for Tuesday at the JSC Basketball Complex.
James Barbee Jr. (20 points), Vivian Destin (15 points), Keroi Lee (15 points) and Rafiki Harris (10 points) led the charge for Stingerz.
Freeland said his team struggled early in the game as far as keeping possession of the ball was concerned, but commended them for the way they responded.
“What I am very proud of is that last night at the end of the first, and the guys kept their composure, went into the second half poised knowing what they had to do and we only had eight more turnovers. I know that 25 is a lot still, but from 17 to eight you can see the adjustment, and I am grateful for that,” he said.
Joshua Minner led Ojays’ effort with 20 points while Bryan Matthew and Jermaine Bolden contributed with 17 and 11 points respectively.
Matthew, a former national player, said his team let their guard down and paid the price.
“Sometimes, you forget it is really hard to beat a team like that three days in a row and you come out flat, with no intensity and it manifests. They came out and they wanted it more than us, especially in that first quarter and we were just fighting an uphill battle from then,” he said.
Tuesday’s deciding game five will shoot off at 7:30 pm and carries an admission fee of $10.
Meanwhile, Police Vertex wrapped up their best-of-five finals against Ottos Coolers with an exciting 59-58 triumph in game four on Sunday at the same venue.
Javon Simon led the way for Vertex with 23 points and seven rebounds, while Ottos Coolers had a 20-point effort from Danny Perez and 19 points from Lincoln Weekes.