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Basketball: Curtain-raiser tournament finals |29 May 2023

Basketball: Curtain-raiser tournament finals

Women’s Curtain-raiser champions B Challenge (Photo: Roland Duval)

Beau Vallon Heat resume dominance over PLS Hawks in season’s opener final

  •          PLS Legends, B Challenge men’s division two and women’s champions

Picking up from where they left off last season, Beau Vallon Heat have once again imposed their dominance over rivals PLS Hawks, beating them 92-63 in the final of the Curtain-raiser tournament held on Saturday at the Victoria Gymnasium. As for the former players of PLS Hawks, now performing under the name PLS Legends, they sent a strong message to this season’ men’s division two contenders, following their convincing win in the division’s final, also played on Saturday.

In the Plaisance derby final, PLS Legends defeated the younger players of the PLS Suns 63-53 to clinch the title in their inaugural season, while in the women’s final, Bel Air-based B Challenge were victorious 56-37 over HotShots from Anse Boileau.

Initially drawn in pool B for the preliminaries alongside Baya, Drifters, AB Boys and MBU Rockers, Beau Vallon Heat topped the group on maximum eight points from four wins in as many matches played, setting up their semi-final match against Mont Fleuri Dawgz who finished as runners-up in pool A.

In the semifinal, they defeated Dawgz 86-60.

PLS Hawks, on the other hand, were drawn in group A alongside Mont Fleuri Dawgz, Anse Etoile, Premium Cobras and Cascade Bullets. They also finished with maximum eight points from four wins, booking their semifinal spot against Drifters who finished as runners-up in group B.

The Hawks narrowly won the semifinal 73-70.

To the dismay of the Victoria Gymnasium crowd filled up to capacity, the top flight final started on a snail pace, with the first quarter ending on a low 13-12 advantage for the Heat.

Things however changed in the second quarter when last season’s doubles winners Heat imposed their game to completely outscore Hawks 34-10 for a comfortable 47-22 lead at half-time.

Following a half-time pep talk from coach Tony Juliette and assistant Michel Malbrook, Hawks improved on their game in the second quarter where they scored 25 points, compared to 16 for Heat, cutting the latter’s lead to only 16 points ( 63-47) at the end of the third quarter.

With a more solid bench, Heat’s coach Steven André managed a good rotation system in the fourth and final quarter, destabilising the Hawk’s defence with accuracy in all areas of offence.

The match was almost spoilt with 1 minute 20 seconds remaining and Heat leading 89-57. Three Heat’s players were evicted from play following ‘unsportsmanlike’ conducts.

It all began following a foul by Heat’s new recruit Darius Adam on ex-teammate Steven Hoareau, whereby, according to referee Alain Uzice, following the whistle, Adam bumped into Hoareau, who retaliated by rubbing his forehead against the former, triggering some sort of a conflict between the two.

The argument between the two continued and Adam trespassed the Hawks’ technical area, he was disqualified from the match.

The altercation between the two continued and it was during that time that Adam’s brother and teammate Timmy Adam who was not on the court when the foul was called, got involved, along with Faizel Naiken, and both were disqualified from the match.

With the resumption of the match, Heat scored three more points, while Hawks added six to their tally, ending the fourth quarter on 29-16 advantage, to win the match 92-63.

Leading by example, captain Kris Andre was Heat’s top scorer with 18 points, while Hoareau led the scoring for Hawks with 17 points.

In his first season as head coach, Steven André said the match went according to plan, even if they were a bit slow at the beginning, but they stepped as they gradually picked up momentum.

He said even if they were well prepared for the final, they never, any moment, underestimated their opponents, since a final can produce any outcome, and with that theory in mind, they kept bringing the game to Hawks.

Commenting on his transition from a player to a coach, and winning his first competition in charge, coach André said he needed a whole transformation of mindset.

“Before it was only me as a player, but now it is the whole team, so the thinking process is different,” he added.

As for PLS Hawks’ coach Tony Juliette, he said it was their defence that let them down on Saturday, despite having some injuries in the team.


Experienced PLS Legends outscore youngsters of PLS Suns


Despite having been off the court for a while, with the exception of Rodney Lozé who made a brief comeback last season to help PLS Hawks during the play-offs, the former players who now play under the name PLS Legends proved a point on Saturday, confirming that they still have the upper hand through experience gathered over years of competing in the top flight, over the district’s younger players.

In the second division’s final of the Curtain-raiser tournament on Saturday, PLS Legends, boasting former local stars in the likes of brothers Jim and Kenneth Domingue, Heribert Derjacques, Emmanuel Jupiter, Barry Barron, Jefferson and Bernard Bristol, among others, defeated PLS Suns to win the cup in their inaugural season in the league.

Starting the match on a higher tempo, PLS Legends clinched the first quarter 20-12, before PLS Suns managed to match them on scoring in the second quarter, winning it 15-14, with the Legends maintaining a 34-27 lead at half-time.

Still relying on their experience against a much agile PLS Suns, the Legends went on to score 15 more points in the third quarter of the match, compared to 8 for the former, leading 49-35 lead at the end of the period.

Despite stepping up their game and outscoring the Legends 18-14 in the fourth and final quarter, PLS Suns could not manage to catch up with their elders who went on to win the match 63-53.

Lozé led the scoring for the Legends with 25 points, while Japha Evenor was Suns’ top scorer with 16 points.


B Challenge cool down HotShots


In the women’s competition, which initially started on a league format between the only four locally-registered teams, Bel Air-based Challenge are the winners of the season’s opener trophy after defeating HotShots of Anse Boileau 56-37 in the final on Saturday.

To qualify for the final, B Challenge, who finished second in the classification league, defeated Anse Etoile who were ranked third, while HotShots eliminated bottom finishers Mont Fleuri Ladies.

In Saturday’s final, a much more organised B Challenge won the first quarter 15-7, before allowing themselves to be matched by HotShots in the second quarter – 10-10 – concluding the first half with 25-17 advantage.

In the third quarter, B Challenge maintained their composure and lead, winning 14-12 for a 39-29 lead at the end of the period.

Already having the upper hand, B Challenge maintained their dominance in the fourth and final quarter winning it 17-8 and the match 56-37.

Guyra Boniface was B Challenge’s top scorer with 24 points, while Kimberly Chang Tak Hue and Beguitta Fontaine each scored nine points for HotShots.


Roland Duval

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