Adrian Frater, News Editor
The first round of the western conference of the 2011 Flow National Basketball League (NBL) came to a most intriguing end last weekend as, following Saturday's double-header at the Montego Bay Cricket Club Courts, three teams are now locked atop the standings in the five-team competition.
In an exciting first game, the inconsistent Granville Jaguars ended Hoopers' five-game winning streak in fine style, upstaging them 86-64. In the second game, Catherine Hall All Stars reported turned back the challenge of Inter-City Avalanche 86-71.
The Jaguars, Hoopers and All Stars are now tied atop the competition's standings with 13 points. Avalanche and Lane Tigers occupy the two minor places with 10 points each.
"We are extremely pleased with quality that has been on show from these five teams so far, and we are expecting things to get even better as we move closer to the championship phase," said Deon Williams, the competition's coordinator for western Jamaica. "The teams must be commended for both the quality of their play and good discipline they have shown."
In their game against the much-vaunted Hoopers, Jaguars sounded a strong warning in winning the first quarter 23-14. After Hoopers rebounded to win the second quarter 22-19, Jaguars again took charge, winning the final two quarters by 25-11 and 19-17 margins.
The diminutive Dave Black, who has been scoring heavily all season, was again bang on target, scoring a game high 27 points. Leroy Lawrence supported him well, getting 26 points and 10 rebounds. Neil Samuels, who had 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Lavar Rose, who also had 10 points, played well for Hoopers.
In their game against Avalanche, the slick-moving All Stars aggregation lost two of the four quarters but won the other two so handsomely that they were able to still come away with a comfortable margin of victory.
The veteran Goyan Malcolm emerged the top player for All Stars, scoring 23 points. Jermaine Rerrie, the top rebounder in the west, also did well, scoring 18 points and grabbing 22 rebounds. Cleon Morgan was quite good for Avalanche, getting 22 points
The winners of the western conference will contest the all-island championship play-offs with the top teams from the other four conferences.