The Guyana National U-19 male basketball team overcame all the odds to end Suriname’s reign as champions in a 57-54 thriller in the final of the 2007 Inter-Guiana Games competition on Sunday night at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall.
A culturally-diverse crowd which including acting President of Guyana, Samuel Hinds and Minister of Culture Youth and Sport, Dr. Frank Anthony were dazzled by the Guyana side which took on the persona of the “Little train that could.” Though much smaller than their opponents in size, much the locals managed to use their quickness to out- run the Suriname side making their 6’8 centre a non factor.
The Guyana side simply could not be contained in the first quarter as the ‘Golden Boys’ came out and executed the up-tempo transition game perfectly to hold a 10-6 lead at the close of the first quarter.
The Guyana team continued their superb play as Dave Causeway, Travis Burnette, and John Fraser, took advantage of the Surinamese backcourt, robbing them of several possessions and getting out in the open floor to execute on the fast break, which they frequently enjoyed.
However, Suriname refused to be left behind and Charlon Kloof decided to take over the show which allowed them to close the half trailing by only five points after being down by 12 earlier.
Spurred on by a huge block by Kevin Evans which changed the momentum of the game and re-energized his teammates, and a controversial buzzer-beater shot from Causeway punctuated the third quarter which ended with Guyana leading 43-38.
It seemed all over for Guyana when Suriname with Charlon Kloof and Lorenzo Adasi making strong moves to the basket led by three. However, Travis Burnette stepped up and scored six clutch points in the last two minutes. The first two points came in the form of two free throws which tied the game at 51 at crunch time. This was followed by two fast break lay-ups which put the icing on the cake. Burnette finished with a team high of 16 points while Javon Nelson and Causeway finished with 14 and 10 points respectively.
“These guys really deserved this victory here tonight, I mean they survived intense practice sessions and proved to be very resilient in the game because they picked themselves up every time they fell and fought bravely to make their country and coaches proud.” said Coach Mark Agard, who just could not contain his enthusiasm after the game. Agard expressed thanks to many persons who helped the champions including Leon Christian, Twinkillas Inc, Bobby Cadogan, assistant coach Julian Haynes and president of the Georgetown Amateur Basketball Association (GABA) Chris Bowman for “his selfless devotion towards the cause.”
But a member of the Suriname delegation voiced disapproval with the officiating after the game.
“Honesty should be always be maintained, that’s what we teach our players and we consider the poor officiating as a slap in our faces. Winning is important but it is not the purpose of these games and the officiating took the juice out of the rivalry and aided the Guyana side which did not need their help. We would in no way seek to discredit the home team’s victory, since their players possess a lot of talent and quickness unlike that of any Guyanese team that I have ever come across. It is evident that they have worked hard for their victory but it’s just that we would have liked to see how the situation would have played out if impartiality by the referees had been maintained.” said Lloyd Goedschach, Vice President of the CLD Basketball club in Suriname.