Clinical Jammers escape again
- end tour unbeaten
By Edison Jefford
The Washington D.C. Jammers will leave Guyana knowing that there is a bunch of guys who actually take the sport seriously in this part of the world. Guys who, given some fundamental training and exposure, could become as good as any on the planet.
For the second time, Guyana out-played D.C. Jammers for three quarters and withered down the stretch when their resolve was needed the most; when they needed to hit open looks and make free-throws, their game seemingly abandoned them.
As a result, the D.C. Jammers comfortably secured an 85-74 points’ win in the
much-anticipated grudge rematch at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall Tuesday night, owed greatly to the clinical and often lethal nature of the team in crunch-time, pressure situations.
Point Guard, Glen Stokes, who plays internationally in the Dutch Division I League, was just too good for the Guyanese. He remained one of the major reasons the Jammers kept winning games; he had 21 points, eight of which came in the fourth quarter, to lead the team to an unbeaten run on the 2012 tour.
The D.C. Jammers convert, Andrew ‘Mr. Dunk’ Ifill scored 11 points amid the full wrath of Guyanese, who booed him every time his hands were placed on the ball. Enthusiasts felt that Ifill should have been in a Guyana uniform instead. High flying forward, Steffon Farley also had 11 points for the Jammers.
Rodwell ‘Kobe’ Fortune extended his big-game temperament, as he had done at the Caribbean Basketball Confederation (CBC) Championships last year, with 19 points for Guyana. Forward, Ryan Gullen had 14 points to continue his offensive improvement.
The up-tempo defensive and offensive start of the game electrified the Sports Hall with local guard, Travis Burnett taking on Stokes and vice versa in an aggressive contest that forced the referees to intervene on several occasions.
Fortune hit a big three-pointer to level the scores at 10 apiece before Steffon Gillis nailed from downtown and Fortune again from beyond the arc to give Guyana a 16-13 lead at the end of the first quarter. The momentum was clearly in Guyana’s favour.
Shane Webster finished an inside move to ensure Guyana continue with its advantage, but then Ifill found the bottom of the net from three-point range before Joseph Flegler basically ran a clinic for all those who were interested in how to dismantle a zone defence.
Flegler drew four defenders driving to the basket then dished a no-look pass to Kerron McKenzie for an open three-point look that he made to level the scores again at 20 apiece. The fundamentally sound play literally brought the house down in the second period.
Royston Siland then finished a layup inside and Fortune completed a jumper, but McKenzie and Stokes answered with shots from downtown. The Jammers would not let up even as Henry raced to tie the game yet another time at 28 points with a fast-break play.
With five minutes left before halftime, Fortune completed a one-on-one layup against Mouktar Fawehinmi to give Guyana a two-point lead. However, Stokes as if he was looking through straw, barley spotted the net and landed a big shot from beyond the arc.
Gullen answered back with a three-pointer, continuing an entertaining and intense exchange of offense and defence. To say the game was shaping to be a thriller would have been an understatement. Guyana was playing ball, so was the D.C. Jammers.
Guyana finished two inside plays to lead 37-32 at halftime. Guyana’s dunk champion, Tyrone Hamid and D.C. Jammers’ Kevan Creppy then treated to the crowd to a dunk exhibition before it was business as usual with the start of the penultimate period of regulation time.
The Jammers went inside to Lancelot Loncke and Farley, who got them early results. McKenzie finished a fast-break layup to level the scores at 43 for the fourth time. Guyana battled to a 47-43 lead with Burnett finishing a left-handed layup after right-faking the defence.
Both teams exchanged points, before four free-throws from Ifill broke the deadlock, but Gillis lit up the net from beyond the arc and Fortune finished a lay-up to tie the game 56-56 near the end of the third quarter that ended 59-58 in favour of the D.C. Jammers.
Guyana’s crunch-time game went on vacation in the final period as D.C. Jammers languished in its backyard with a 9-2 run after Flegler nailed a big shot from downtown. Guyana returned to its intense defence and it hauled them to within four of the Jammers.
Throughout the game, the combination of Fortune and Stephon ‘Penny’ Henry seemed likely to bring home the bacon down the stretch, but Coaches, Mark Agard and Andrew Hercules opted to install Shelroy Thomas and Dave Causway to start the last period.
It did not work and somehow helped D.C. Jammers recover some lost momentum.
Down 68-71 mid-way through the final period, Akeem Kanhai missed three free-throw attempts that would have tied the game. D.C. Jammers made them pay when Gordon Klaiber stepped back behind the arc and downed a dagger that ensured his team remain in command.
Guyana tried relentlessly to catch the Jammers, but it was not to be as the fundamentally sound team made good on every attempt to secure the win. Guyana should know the necessary steps to be taken for forward development following this tour.