By Saju Ng’alla
Carib Pearl Cayon Pacers on Tuesday, before hundreds of screaming fans, beat the Coca Cola Shamrocks to even the championship series at one a piece.
However, Cayon needed an overtime period to stay alive, with a 29-33 victory.
The final game, which would decide the winner, would be played this Saturday at Netball City.
“When the series first started I said there would be no need for three games and that Cayon would win the two games str aight,” said Cayon’s coach, Mario Wigley. “ That is still true and we will still win two games straight. We won on Tuesday and we will win on Saturday.”
The key player for Cayon was Amoy Roberts, who played wing defense and eventually ended the game playing goal defense.
“All in all she came out with some very good defensive plays,” Wigley said. “But what made her stand out was that during the overtime period while everybody else stalled, her energy level was still up.”
Wigley said Roberts was “everywhere” on the court and made good clean passes and always seemed to be disrupting the Shamrocks’ offensive attacks.
Cayon started the game smooth ly and built a three-point lead over the Shamrocks. After a while the Shamrocks mounted a blazing attack and pretty soon had the game in control. However, Cokes’ shooting problems continued to hurt them and they were unable to convert most of their shots in the first quarter.
Wigley said Cokes’s shooting problem had a lot to do with the good defensive plays of goal defense Joya Herbert and goal keep Shernelka Liburd. Bigger and stronger, these two players were able to cause a number of misses for Cokes.
Jill Archibald, Cokes’ manager, said Cokes’ shooting problems had nothing to do with Cayon’s defense. She pointed out that Cayon had 49 attempts at goal while Cokes had 48 attempts with no offensive rebounds.
“My girls need to shoot bett er,” Archibald said. “We were getting our attempts, but we were not making our shots. Yes, our girls are shorter and that meant were unable to get any offensive rebounds, but we still had 48 attempts. So we were getting our balls inside the circle.”
In the third quarter Cayon moved Herbert to goal attack.
“She was able to hold her own and her ball handling skill was exactly what we needed at those pressure-filled moments,” Wigley said.
Wigley said in game one, which Cokes won, goal shoot Jackie Bassue was constantly double teamed. The double teams caused a number of turnovers, which allowed Cokes to win the game.
“So we knew for this game we had to free Jackie,” Wig ley said.
Herbert — with her size and great ball handling skills —became a very viable threat, which meant Cokes had to pay her more attention. This allowed the ever-reliable Bassue to have more scoring opportunity and to go one-on-one with the Cokes defense.
Archibald said she will continue to work with the girls on their shooting. As for the team’s defense, Archibald said she was content with the level of play.
“My defense played like Trojans,” Archibald said.
Wigley said his Cayon girls are very focused this year. He has no doubt that with a little more adjustments Cayon will win the championship.
Cayon la st won the championship in 2004.
“Cokes won it last year. So it is our turn again,” Wigley said.