Ravens pound Royals to lift NLE basketball title

Dyna’s Ravens of Georgetown displayed excellent team chemistry to destroy Victory Valley Royals of Linden 76-62 to capture the 2009 Next Level Entertainment (NLE) basketball title at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall on Sunday while the Kashif and Shanghai Kings scraped past Amelia’s Ward Jets by one point to finish third.

We are the Champions! Dyna’s Ravens players celebrating after winning the 2009 NLE basketball tournament. (Orlando Charles photo)
We are the Champions! Dyna’s Ravens players celebrating after winning the 2009 NLE basketball tournament. (Orlando Charles photo)

Ravens played in the finals of the first NLE tournament when they were defeated by Kashif and Shanghai Kings in 2006 and then in 2007 they were booted in the semi-finals by Courts Pacesetters, who went on to win the tournament.

However, it was nothing short of magnificent the way the city team played.  The Linden side which depended heavily on their star player Dwayne “Brown Sugar” Roberts were  scraping all night to get going, since Roberts was virtually outplayed in the centre position by Ravens.
At the end of the first quarter the score was 20-10 in favour of the city side and their form got better as the game progressed and they finished the first half on a high note leading 76-62.

In the second half  Roberts tried to pick up the score a bit after scoring most  of his team’s points in the first half. But once again, Ravens coach Lugard Mohan demonstrated his knowledge of the game to the fullest.
Mohan made sure that all his play came through his point guards, Ryan Stephaney, Darcell Harris and Rodwell Fortune since this was the area where the Royals were lacking most.

Anson Durant and Chris Williams were certainly outplayed in their position as they failed to create plays for the other players and most importantly in getting the ball to Roberts. Most of  the time, they had to settle for the long range shot and since the Ravens took control of the game at both ends, this was the right  way for the city side.
Throughout  the night while  it was a one-sided affair, the fans were certainly entertained by  Ravens  whose players always showed a positive attitude.

Damien Liverpool finished the game as the top scorer of the city team, netting 18 points, while Stephaney and Fortune had 12 and ten points respectively.

You can’t mark me! says Ryan Stephaney as he prepares to blow past the Royals point guard Anson Durant during the fourth quarter of the 2009 NLE Basketball tournament.
You can’t mark me! says Ryan Stephaney as he prepares to blow past the Royals point guard Anson Durant during the fourth quarter of the 2009 NLE Basketball tournament.

For the Royals, Roberts who has been averaging over 26 points per game only scored 18 points and hauled 11 rebounds, but given the fact he did so off his own and playing with a double team on him all night, that is commendable and says much about his ability.
Durant also had 18 points most of which came from beyond the arc while Orlando Glasgow chipped in with 11 points. Meanwhile in the third place play-off, Kashif and Shanghai Kings, thanks to two late free throws by Marvin Hartman with seven seconds remaining in the game, edged Amelia’s Ward Jets 66-65.

The Kings who were beaten by the Ravens in the semi-finals came out playing well, but as always the Jets seemed a bit more energetic. At half time, the Kings were leading 37-32. Down but not out, the Jets through Akeem Kanhai and point guards Kevin Joseph and Neil Simon clawed their way back into the game much to the delight of the crowd.

But the excitement came with 30 seconds on the game clock with the Kings up by two points (64-62). Joseph made use of his speed and skill to make a pass to Simon and his three point shot was good even though he had the hands of Steve Neils in his face. Then  the Kings went to the sure hands of Hartman who drove the ball in the paint and was fouled by Kanhai. Both of his free shots were good and  Joseph came close to giving the Jets the win when his three point shot on the buzzer which went off the back rim.

Sixteen teams took part in this year’s tournament which featured eight teams from Linden and eight from Georgetown.
Ravens took home the $300,000 first prize while Royals settled for $200,000, Kings $100,000 and  Jets who finished fourth collected $50,000.

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