Jamaica's women rebound in CAC basketball

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

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BARRANQUILLA, Colombia — Jamaica's women's basketball team cut their losing streak at the 23rd Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games with a 62-37 win over Guatemala at Elias Chegwin Coliseum yesterday.

Jamaica had lost their first three games 23-87, 36-67, and 37-67 to Cuba, Colombia and the US Virgin Islands (USVI), respectively.

However they turned things around, largely through the efforts of point guard Tashawna Higgins, who scored 19 points and dished out four rebounds. Sasha Dixon also contributed well, sinking 14 baskets and five assists, while Cadene Cowan scored 10 points. Ashleee Gordon was strong off the boards, grabbing nine rebounds, while Ladonna Lamonth grabbed six rebounds.

The Jamaicans led 15-12, 31-22 and 48-32 at the end of the first three quarters, and with the win they finished preliminary-round group play with three points, missing out on a top four spot. Cuba topped the group with a perfect nine points from three matches, while Colombia ended second on six.

They will now play for sixth today in a rematch against the USVI, who recorded a 79-53 win over Barbados yesterday.

In men's hockey Jamaica suffered their second loss of the Games, going down 0-5 to Cuba at the Pibe Valderrama Complex.

“We played a very experienced Cuba team. In the first period of the game we conceded a penalty corner, but remained toe-to-toe with them as we aimed to play on the counter-attack. That tactic was working as we won a penalty stroke,” said Ricardo Panton, manager of the Jamaica team.

“Unfortunately we did not score the penalty, but the players didn't drop their head as we maintained the intensity while restricting Cuba from creating clear-cut chances.”

Darian Valero opened the scoring for Cuba at the 10th minute after converting a play from a penalty corner. It was the only goal in a fairly competitive half, as Jamaica remained poised.

However, things took a turn for the worse in the second half, and within a nine-minute period of the third quarter Cuba punished Jamaica for their slow transition into the period with a four-goal blitz.

Heriberto Sarduy started the rout with a penalty at the 33rd minute, scoring his first of two goals three minutes after the interval. Two minutes later Sarduy was at it again, this time scoring one of three field goals at the 35th.

Before the Jamaicans could catch their breath, Cuba were 4-0 up at the 37th minute through Wilfredo Sanchez's goal. Marfcos Martinez closed out the scoring at the 42nd minute.

“After the break we gave up a penalty stroke early in the second half. They scored the penalty stroke and we lost our shape and intensity as they scored three other goals in quick succession,” assessed Panton.

He added: “The team played with a lot of heart as we competed with a historically good Cuban team. We will learn from the results and build on this as we approach our last group game and two placement games.”

Jamaica had lost their opening match 0-1 against Barbados and remain bottom of the standings in Pool A, while Cuba moved into second on three points with a +4 goal difference. Trinidad and Tobago, who had beaten Cuba 2-1 in their opening fixture, also have three points.

The group is led by Barbados, who remained perfect with two wins from as many starts for six points after defeating Trinidad and Tobago 2-1, also yesterday.

Meanwhile, the national women's hockey team will look to back-to-back victories and claim a spot in the top four when they tackle Trinidad and Tobago in a Pool B encounter today, beginning at 2:00 pm.

The Jamaicans beat Guatemala 5-0 on Sunday in their second game to move to three points. Barbados also have the same number of points, after clipping Jamaica 3-0 in their opener, before suffering a come-from-behind 1-2 loss against Trinidad and Tobago.

The Trinidadians head the group with maximum six points after trouncing Guatemala 12-0 on the opening day.

All three teams can end with six points should Jamaica beat Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados beat Guatemala as expected. This means goal difference could decide which top teams go to the medal play-offs and which will fight for the minor placings.

Jamaica's contingent continued to swell, with the karate and boxing representatives joining the group on Sunday night. A total of 26 members of the track and field contingent were due last night.

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