Showdown in the Mining Town
- NCBL returns Saturday night
By Edison Jefford
Guyana’s most successful female basketball coach, Ann Gordon may have all the titles stacked under her name at the national schools’ level, but this weekend she must convert that success to the senior level in a basketball showdown in the Mining Town.
Gordon’s Kwakwani senior team will take on Central McKenzie in the remaining quarterfinal of the National Community Basketball League (NCBL) at the McKenzie Sports Club (MSC) Court in the Bauxite Mining Town of Linden
Gordon has been at the helm of basketball in Kwakwani for quite some time and is graduating national junior players like an institution. But why not, Gordon is a basketball institution that has been tested and proven with competitive teams.
The female coach is the most successful coach at the National Schools Basketball Festival, and is aiming to transfer that success to the senior basketball level when she takes on another basketball mind, Abdulla Hamid, who she knows extremely well.
Hamid is the leader of the Central McKenzie team and is also a former national junior coach and Technical Director of the national federation. The battle of the two basketball minds will be one of the best NCBL contests to-date in the competition.
The easy prediction will be to choose Hamid and Central McKenzie because of the depth of what can easily be called a ‘Dream Team’. In the guard positions, Central McKenzie has ‘The Dream’, Akeem Kanhai with Steve Neils Jr. and Kevin ‘Two Feet’ Joseph.
Neils is a former national shooting guard, who captained Guyana at the last Caribbean Basketball Confederation (CBC) Championships in the Bahamas. Kanhai is an ex-national junior guard with Joseph having a bit of senior national exposure in the position as well.
Then there is Orin Rose, who is as lethal locally from downtown as any. In the forward positions, Marvin Hartman and Shane Webster are definite forces to reckon with. Centre, Jason Alonzo has his own class at about 6’9” and will be difficult to defend if he plays.
The point is: Central McKenzie is a deep team of well-exposed players at all levels. In that regard the underdog status must apply to Kwakwani, who is now developing a senior force with most of its players still in transition from the schools’ and junior levels.
Nevertheless, Shelroy Thomas, Dave Plass and Dominic Douglas will come out to play ball. This is a team, judging from their run in the tournament that has been a true representation of talent in communities across Guyana thus far, that
has shown no fear of opposition.
Kwakwani has toppled respectable teams in the NCBL to reach the quarterfinal stage after they’d finished second in their group. Their performance against previous big teams cannot be diluted in any analysis. Their fundamentals could create an upset Saturday night.
However, the bottom-line is that the showdown in the Mining Town will decide the dominant force in Region 10. It will become a territorial battle and that pride among athletes from the region usually produces historic results.