Guyana’s male b/ball team down French Guiana
Mixed fortunes for cycling, volleyball and chess
By Edison Jefford in Suriname
Compliments of Bryden and Fernandes, Warsila,
Fon-J Cycle Store and Kiskadee Day Care
Individual skill and team work came together in an assured combination for Guyana Friday night when the national junior male basketball team extinguished the challenges of French Guiana in a clinical performance at the Anthony Nesty Sports Hall.
Guyana cemented a 95-90 points’ victory against French Guiana that placed them right on course for a title defence in the male basketball competition. They will play hosts, Suriname tonight in a crucial game that will decide the 2009 basketball champions.
Akeem ‘The Dream’ Kanhai scored 28 points while Shelroy Thomas added 23 points, Orin Rose 19 points and Richard Mohandatt 11 points in the win that showed off Guyana’s talent and sent a strong message to the Surinamese team at the famous venue.
French Guiana’s Herman Frederic scored a whopping 32 points with support from Alain brothers (Jacinth and Popoe), who both had 14 points and Bienvenue Felicien with 10 points. There was a hint of threat for the Guyanese but that tactically evaporated.
Guyana’s offence fell into place from ball one after a suffocating two-three zone defence seem to have punished French Guiana early in the game. The defending champions raced to a 6-0 lead in the first quarter compliments of a few fast-break plays.
French Guiana rallied after adjusting to Guyana’s defence. The French men created some of the game’s highlights that included a fundamentally sound no-look pass to the baseline where the lurking Popoe Alain was setting to finish the offensive play.
Three middle minutes of strong responses from Alain helped French Guiana recover to take a 15-10 lead with four minutes left in the first quarter. However, Guyana switched from the individual game to team defence and positive offence was the result.
The defending champions not only equalised the scores at 15 points, but Mohandatt made a three pointer and finished an ‘And One’ play to take Guyana ahead 24-19 with a minute before the end of the first quarter that closed 25-20 in favour of Guyana.
Kanhai went on a rampage in the first five minutes of the second quarter, scoring eight points for his team in that time. The national junior captain’s contribution gave Guyana their biggest lead in the first half (36-26) before Rose turned on the heat.
Rose drove the lane for a 40-30 lead and Alain responded with an ‘And One’ finish that triggered the sharp shooting aspect of Rose’s game. The guard from Linden then landed consecutive three-point jump shots to tighten the noose on French Guiana.
Guyana led 52-42 at halftime and the first three minutes of the penultimate period witnessed the further demolition of the French team’s defence at the hands of Thomas and Rose, who both shot and scored a very high percentage early in the quarter.
Consecutive coast-to-coast plays that included a reverse lay-up and penetration from the Captain were crucial in helping Guyana to a 77-61 points lead. French Guiana’s Nijean Felicien sought to haul his team out the doldrums with a put back that missed.
Mohandatt piled on the pressure with a three-point jumper that helped Guyana to an 81-65 points lead at the end of the third quarter. However, the French team was neither prepared nor ready to throw in the towel and devised a system that worked.
The French Guiana team played full-court pressure defence the entire last quarter that led to a 14 to four points run in the first five minutes that hauled them to within eight (85-77) a distance they maintained until the final two minutes they came within five.
The national junior women’s basketball team played their inaugural first game against Suriname last night and up to press time they were trailing 42-6 at halftime. They will play French Guiana today while the males take on Suriname for the title.
Cycling snafus yesterday morning cost both the male and female Inter-Guiana Games teams after Enzo Mathews dropped out of the male 10km Team Time Trials and Naomi Singh missed a turn in the female individual 6km Time Trials in Paramaribo.
Mathews contended that the rules are clear in allowing one of the four riders in the team trials to drop out after setting the pace. The Continental Cycle Club rider from Guyana thought he was not in breach on any rule after the decision to drop out the race.
However, officials in Suriname thought that he was and wanted to disqualify the entire team that also included Chris Persaud, Geron Williams and Christopher Holder. The decision to disqualify them rescinded after Guyana protested on Mathews’ claim.
Guyana was given second in the male competition with a total time of 14:57.29, while Suriname placed first in 14:44.74 bettering the Guyanese times on the middle laps. French Guiana finished third in 15:47.84 after clocking over three minutes per lap.
More controversy erupted when Singh apparently missed a turn in the female version of the race after following the Police outriders. The national schools’ cycle champion from Buxton said that she was not in breach of the course rules as a result.
Singh had clocked a fast 11:05 totally but the time was dismissed as real owing to the complaint of the other teams. Merica Dick, the other rider on the female two-member team, was accused of the similar infraction but was cleared after official verification.
Suriname’s Jo Ann Veldhuizen placed first in 11:32.83 while Dick was given silver with 11:46.8 as French Guiana’s Johanna Said came third in 12:45.25. The local cyclist competes again today in the Male 60km road race and female 40km competition.
After a match winning performance from the Guyana female underdog team against French Guiana that handed them a hefty 3-0 win out of five games, Suriname inflicted a similar beating on them yesterday afternoon to put them out with one win and one loss.
Suriname will play French Guiana today to decide the title. A win for French Guiana will still be a loss for Guyana since Suriname’s margin of victory was huge in all three of the games but the home side could secure the title with a win today.
If Suriname wins against French Guiana today in female volleyball, Guyana will definitely come away with second. Unlike the females, who won their first game, Guyana’s defending male team suffered a huge disappointment against French Guiana yesterday.
The Guyanese male side looked very ordinary despite holding the more aggressive French squad to five games. Guyana played from behind in all of the games before finally giving up 15-8 in the final game of the match for the crushing defeat.
They are expected to play against Suriname today.
Chess is one of the disciplines that were introduced for the first time along with beach volleyball. The Chess competition was not for points but Guyana gave in to Suriname when they lost all four games yesterday. They had won 3-0 against French Guiana.