By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Mega Mix put the first dent in Ronnie “Gola” Norman’s quest to become the first Coach claiming three BVI Basketball Federation District Basketball League titles in just the 2nd season of the District format, when they completed a best of three sweep with an 83-76 Saturday night victory. Mega Mix won the opener, 96-95 on Friday and claimed their first title since 2010.
“They counted us out. We had some struggles during the season. We had to make a coaching change. We had a couple players who didn’t stick with us, but the group of guys who stuck with it, they were committed. They played hard,” player Coach Steve Parillon told Island Sun Sports. “They pulled me up a couple times, but we still endured to the end.”
Parillon said they had a ‘tough loss’ in last year’s semifinals and noted that in the District League format, there’s nothing much can be changed about the players and everyone returned from last year.
“You have to field players from your district, so you can’t go out and get a bad man from East End, West End or anywhere,” he noted. “You have to play with the guys who are there. I think the difference this year is that we bought into our team concept. We played hard. We have guys who play very aggressive and I think that’s a hard thing to stop in basketball.”
Devante Brewley scored 14 of his game high 25 points in the second half for Mega Mix. Duron Phillip followed up with 21 points—12 of them coming in the fourth quarter, when they outscored Skillful Ballers, 26-15. Tavon “Drew” Phillip chipped in another 12 and Malachy Payne, 11.
Diorys “Migo” Joseph, led Skillful Ballers with 20—all coming in the first half before he was slowed by injury. Jasin Rhymer poured in another 19. Jason Blyden chipped in 13 to the tally and Sanger Jimenez finished with 12.
“They don’t listen. You tell them to attack, drive in the ball from the start of the game—they want to shoot a bunch of 3’s, they give a fast break for the next team (and) put themselves out the game,” surmised Jr. Skillful Ballers Coach Norman. “We lost the first game the same way—drive in the ball, get them in foul trouble—they didn’t want to do that, they wanted to shoot 3’s. Coming down late in the game, they’re down by four points, came out shooting two 3’s, missed, and gave the other team back to back points. That doesn’t make sense.”
Norman said they outran Mega Mix but then they played their opponent’s half court set. “What you think will happen? They’ll beat you every time,” he noted. “And then I had injuries to my best player—his shoulder kept popping out—then my bench was small. It’s tough in that sense.
Reflecting on game one, Parillon said: “We stole game one. I told my team that in the huddle tonight, coming into this same situation. I said they played better than us but we made the plays at the end of the game to steal that game,” he said. “And whenever someone allows you to get away with robbery, you have to take advantage of it and that’s what we did tonight. We took that robbery and we ran away with the bank.”
Meanwhile, Lekoy Lennard led the Virgin Gorda Jr. Mystics to a 2-1 series victory over Jr. Skillful Ballers. Sunday’s game ended prematurely when Norman got a double technical with 3:24 left and the Jr. Mystics leading 64-48. He berated officials before leading his team off the court, where Javin Wattley led Jr. Skillful Ballers with a game high 31 points and 11 rebounds.
“Last year, we lost by the same kind of result—we walked out because of the referee—this year, they walked out because of the referee but it’s good to get the win,” Lennard, who had 31 points and pulled 25 rebounds for his double double told Island Sun Sports. “It was pretty much finished towards the end but I wanted to compete for it for a better victory.”
Lennard described winning the championship as a ‘good feeling’ as they lost many players from last year’s team.
“It was win or go home,” he said of the game. “We had to take a championship to Virgin Gorda as our senior team got knocked out and we just wanted to take back something this year.”
BVIBF Vice President Jason Edwintold Island Sun Sports that the league was a success but the final game left a bad taste. “It was distasteful to see how it ended—pre maturely,” he said. “I know they (Skillful Ballers) have a couple players off island and couple players doing their own personal thing, so I figured they would have known they’d be shorthanded, but to face adversity and end it off that way, it was pretty much distasteful. Hopefully, cooler heads can prevail and we can move forward growing the sport.”