T&T netballers thrilled supporters in their final match of the Americas Federation of Netball Associations (AFNA) Championships against Jamaica but it was the “Sunshine Girls”, who emerged with the win, 60-40, to cop the title after playing unbeaten in the week-long event.
This was at the Jean Pierre Complex, Mucurapo on Saturday night. It was the second straight loss for the “Calypso Girls”, who on the Friday evening suffered their other defeat at the hands of Barbados, 59-48. Despite the result, coach Jennifer Frank saw some positives, as T&T held the rampant Jamaicans to their lowest score of the nine-team competition. “After the defeat yesterday (Friday), we went home and we regrouped,” said Frank. “The players had a meeting and they talked it out among themselves. It was a healthy discussion and they came back today with energy and it worked for us. “What we tried to do was keep possession, make less mistakes and you saw the effort from them in trying to keep possession of the ball. Our goal too, was to slow Jamaica scoring rate. We tried not to have them speed up the game.”
The local team had no intention of being railroaded by the Jamaicans, who were ruthless against all other competitors and that was obvious from the start, trailing by just four (12-8) in the first period. Shooting duo Anastascia Wilson and Joelise Cooper opened in the circle for T&T and battled with the toughest defenders of the event, Sasha-Gaye Lynch (goal-keeper) and Malysha Kelly (goal-defence).
They made it difficult for Wilson to get going as both defenders were all over her when she attempted to get the ball or even take a shot.
It didn’t get any better for Wilson in the second session and when a timeout was called after 10 minutes, she was replaced by veteran shooter Janelle Barker, who used her experienced to out- think the Jamaican defenders. Her keen positioning forced them to cause a number of infringements of which she took full advantage, getting T&T to within two (20-18) with three minutes left in the second session.
At that point Jamaican coach Oberon Pitterson-Nattie called a timeout. The break clearly disrupted T&T flow as in the final minutes of the period, T&T did not score, going in at the half with an eight-goal (26-18) deficit. Jamaica stayed out front in the third session, outscoring the host 15-9, thanks to the efforts of goal-shooter Jhaneile Fowler and Anna-Kay Griffiths, the goal-attack, to lead 41-29 to start the final stanza. Wilson, who was a shadow of herself from earlier matches, returned to the court with under six minutes left in the fourth session. By then Jamaica had gone ahead by 15 goals (50-35). T&T defensive unit of goal-keeper Alicia Liverpool and goal-defence Crystal George tried their best to limit the Jamaican shooters while on the other end, Cooper and Wilson guided T&T to a reasonable score. But when time expired, it was Jamaica claiming 20-goal victory and the gold medals.
T&T 40 (Anastascia Wilson 6/8, Janelle Barker 11/1, Joelisa Cooper 12/18) vs Jamaica 60 (Jhaneile Fowler 40/44, Anna-Kay Griffiths 20/25). Quarter scores 12-8, 26-18, 41-29 (Jamaica).
Guyana 34 (Angeline McCarty 31/42, Renee Anderson 1/2, Adele Chalmers 2/2) vs Bermuda 68 (Danielle Raynor 57/63, Marissa Wainwright 11/16). Quarter scores: 18-9, 39-19, 56-27 (Bermuda).
Canada 59 (Cherry Nickie 46/54,Sabrina Versteeg 13/19) vs USA 41 (Swasha Shaw 16/20, Camille Henry 21/25, Tasha Brown 1/1, Natalie Hosang 3/3). Quarter scores: 13-9, 30-23, 48-32 (Canada).
Barbados 54 (Shonica Wharton 3/5, Nikita Piggott 31/35, Laurel Browne 20/27) vs St Lucia 28 (Joanne Anderson 1/3, Shem Maxwell 19/27, Glatta Gabriel 1/1, Indira Laurencin 7/8). Quarter scores: 17-8, 29-15, 44-18 (Barbados).
Team P W L D GF GA GDif Pts
Jamaica 8 8 0 0 688 182 506 16
Barbados 8 7 1 0 567 256 311 14
T&T 8 6 2 0 543 255 288 12
St Lucia 8 5 3 0 402 345 57 10
Canada 8 4 4 0 336 377 -41 8
USA 8 3 5 0 328 395 -67 6
Grenada 8 2 6 0 288 484 -196 4
Bermuda 8 1 7 0 263 567 -304 2
Guyana 8 0 8 0 154 708 -554 0