As expected, Dyna’s Ravens of Georgetown and Linden’s Wismar Pistons were the first two teams to chalk up victory, when this year’s Next Level Entertainment (NLE) basketball tournament bounced off last Friday at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall.
In a competition that is only featuring teams from Linden and Georgetown, the Pistons put down city side Demerara Panthers 67-51, while Ravens fought off the Amelia’s Ward Ballers 81-51.
In the opening game of the night, the Panthers who entered the tournament as the lowest seeded team from Georgetown started well against the Pistons who are also Guyana’s national club champions, but couldn’t keep pace with the Linden team.
The first quarter ended with the Panthers trailing 12-17, but it was from the second quarter that coach Raphael Damon and his troops began to fire on all cylinders, as the Pistons went on a rampage on both ends of the court.
Going into the third, the Linden team had a 23 points lead (53-30) over the Panthers with their big three players Nevin Grenville, Trevor Profit and Quincy Jones delivering both on and off the class. The fourth quarter saw the Panthers trying a bit harder but the Pistons who are no strangers to big tournaments used it to their advantage and held on for the win.
Grenville was in top form for his team finishing with 13 points while Jones had 10. Yanik Wade’s game high 19 points were not enough for the Panthers who were the first city team to get the boot.
But it was the second game between debutants Ballers from Linden and Ravens of Georgetown that provided the entertainment, with the Mining Town team having their opponents on their heels all the time.
The team came into the match with their coach Floyd Martindale waging war against the Ravens, stating that he was David in battle against Goliath. However although he played with a heart like David, Goliath could not have been subdued.
During the first half, the two clubs exchanged positions which was not expected, before the ferocious Ravens led 39-28 at half time. The Ballers found some form through their two primary scorers, forward Mark Wills and point guard Leonard Caleb, with the latter being too much for the Ravens to handle.
He used his killer cross overs to get past their point guard Darcell Harris and when they did found a way to stop him, Wills made them pay by launching some rockets from beyond the arc.
The team balled their way back into the game, forcing coach Lugard Mohan to call time out with the score reading 40-45 still in his favour. But in the fourth quarter, the city team turned up the heat and stalked their prey all over the court using their experience and distinct skill advantage to vast effect.
The Ravens big men proved more dominant as Ryan Gullen had 12 points while Damien Liverpool scored 11. They were however outscored by Caleb and Wills who scored 18 and 16 points respectively in a losing cause.
The Georgetown/ Linden rivalry will continue this evening, when Maccabees faces Amelia’s Ward Jets and Bounty Colts square off against Victory Valley Royals.