– Suriname wraps up football title with 4-2 win
By Edison Jefford in Suriname in association with Warsila, YK Investments Pawn Shop and R&D Engineering Services Inc.
Palpably poor officiating throughout the Guyana versus French Guiana male basketball game at the Inter-Guiana Games (IGG) in Suriname gift-wrapped a historic win for French Guiana at the Anthony Nesty Sports Hall in Paramaribo last night.
French Guiana defeated Guyana 85-81 to secure a win over Guyana in junior male basketball for the first time in the New Millennium, which intercepted Guyana’s hope of reclaiming the title they last won in 2007 when Travis Burnett took charge of the team.
Roderick Jean-Christophe scored 23 points for French Guiana while Karim Marcelin added 21 points in the first basketball game of the Games. For Guyana, Richard Mohandatt and Linden Fraser had 17 points each while Dominique Douglas scored 16 points.
Guyana was subjected to several suspecting calls that either forced them to turn-over the ball or handed free-throws to French Guiana at the most important junctions of the game. The incident forced hostile reactions toward the Surinamese referees from Guyanese supporters who came to see the game.
The management of Guyana’s junior national basketball team told Kaieteur Sport that the matter will be officially addressed at a technical meeting scheduled for today. Guyana play Suriname in a deciding game tonight at the same venue.
Guyana came out steaming hot and confident in the first quarter of the game with Fraser and the tough Geoffrey LaRose taking feeds from Mohandatt in the paint. Mohandatt finished an ‘And 1’ play and stole the ball for a fast -break to put Guyana up 29-21 at the end of the first period.
The momentum of the game swung in the second period when Mohandatt went up for a three-point jumper and was clearly fouled, but the call was not made. The result was that Guyana had an offensive meltdown that resulted in an unusual amount of turnovers.
French Guiana’s, Jean-Christophe and Michel Adami clawed their team back into the game with Jean-Christophe hitting a big three-pointer to come within two points (30-32) of the Guyanese in the first five minutes of the game.
However, United States-based Mohandatt, who was playing in his third IGG, helped his team to remain in the game with back-to-back assists to Marlon Pollydore and LaRose that accounted for four points and helped resuscitate the Guyanese offence.
But again the mini-run was thwarted when the referee called ‘out-of-bound’ on three possessions for Guyana, which allowed French Guiana to remain competitive. Guyana went into the halftime period leading 41-40 after their offense came under a systemic assault.
French Guiana took a 55-50 lead in the third period after the two teams had exchanged points in the preceding minutes. The run forced Guyana’s Coach, Lugard Mohan to ask for a time-out to regroup. Jean-Christophe was literally untouchable in the game.
Any contact with Jean-Christophe attracted the referees’ whistle. The guard scored seven points straight for French Guiana from the free-throw line to put the Guyanese under more pressure. He was interrupted when Douglas went back to his inside work.
Douglas led Guyana to a 66-63 points lead at the end of the third period after French Guiana had taken a 62-57 points advantage in the last two minutes of the penultimate period. The teams had exchanged points early in the fourth quarter before Jamson Marquis nailed a three-pointer to put his team up 77-74 with three minutes left in the game.
Mohandatt hit a three-pointer to give his team hope with the clock dipping under two minutes in the game. The French Guiana unit controlled the free-throw line consistently when Guyana was on a run. It became glaring in the final minute and a half of the game.
Douglas scored two points to bring Guyana to within three (81-83) of French Guiana with just 18 seconds left to play in regulation time. Martin Weatherspoon received an assist for Guyana low in the paint, went up with the French Guiana defense slinging on his shoulders, but the referees just allowed the time to fizzle out without making an obvious foul call.
Meanwhile, Guyana lost the IGG male football title to Suriname in the best-of-three competition after Suriname swept the visitors with a 4-2 win yesterday at the Andre Kamperveen Stadium. It followed a 7-1 drubbing on the opening night of the Games Wednesday.
On the first night, Apai Dimitri scored in the 5th, 62nd, 81st and 85th minute for Suriname as Nibte Albert and Pinas Vitorinio scored in the 7th and 9th minutes. The seventh goal for Suriname came off the boot of Guyana’s Emmett Leacock, who scored an own-goal.
Up to press time last night, Kaieteur Sport could not confirm the scorers in the second game. The Games will continue today with cycling, swimming, track and field and basketball. Suriname has taken an early lead overall in the competition after winning the male football title. French Guiana did not compete in male football at the 2011 Games.
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