By Edison Jefford
Guyana’s best, and most firm, referees will certainly have their work cut out tonight in the much-anticipated duel between Albouystown/Charlestown and Wortmanville/Werk-en-Rust in Game I of the best-of-three Final of the Inter-Ward Basketball Championships.
Rest assured that the two urban-based teams are used to tough street-ball, which will be employed at its maximum tonight at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall to give either side advantages that can ensure a 1-0 lead in the three-game series heading into tomorrow night.
In the semis last weekend, Plaisance/Vryheid’s Lust, which have been the most offensively potent team in the 2013 competition, after scoring in excess of 100 points twice, were dismantled against Wortmanville with some tough plays within the closing minutes.
Plaisance had no answer for the banging they received in the paint. Alberttown/Bourda that came up against Albouystown in their semi had no answer for the same style of basketball as well with Collis ‘Forty’ Pluck running a riot in the paint for 20-plus points.
Tonight’s final puts the two toughest teams in the competition against each other in a feud that is extended beyond basketball. The urban conflicts of both ‘hoods’ will be live on the court tonight in what will be a gruelling contest for supremacy and bragging rights.
Albouystown has ensured that its hardcore supporters accompany them to each game, which will increase for the final. The same will be the case for Wortmanville with supporters of both teams opposing each other in an east/west conventional seating arrangement.
The tension and emotions will be high with referees in the centre to ensure that quality basketball is played throughout the game. All-in-all, the final, beginning tonight at 8pm, will be a classic on the local roster with a juxtaposition of street and officialdom.
Pluck with support from Nicko Fraser and Marvis Hilliman has been the toughest to overcome in the paint and front court for Albouystown/Charlestown, which also has Joel Ifill, younger brother of national star, Andrew Ifill, playing in the power forward position.
The four players are a decent combination of ‘big men’. Albouystown’s back court is vulnerable, which will be an area for Wortmanville/Werk-en-Rust to exploit; veteran guard, Trevor McCleod does not have the support in neither on-court or bench personnel.
Conversely, Wortmanville has the swingmen that could play in the front court, then swing to the back court such as Naylon Loncke and Randy Richardson, which gives any defence headaches to guard. The inside-out offence is one of the most slippery in the game.
Apart from Loncke and Richardson, there is Michael Turner, who has unleashed an unexpected superior brand of basketball at this level that has caught many off guard. Wortmanville looks like the more position-specific team on paper, which gives them an edge.
They have a pure shooter in Shawn Gillis to support the forward, swingmen and they have a true centre in Joslyn Crawford. They also have the deeper bench with Elton Jefford Jr. It is for Coach, Clement Brusche to see these strengths and maximise their potential.
But anyway, Albouystown/Charlestown, characteristically, will not roll over and give up the win. Wortmanville/Werk-en-Rust will have to take it and that’s an introduction of a fight between two urban teams that knows more than anything else, how to represent themselves.
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