Basketball - Three in a row for Bavaria Blue Stars
The elder statesmen of local basketball, Bavaria Blue Stars, founded in 1962, clinched their third consecutive First Division League title on Monday night. Having overcome a shaky start to the campaign, going down to Lincoln Bayside and GibYellow Animals in their first two matches, Stars won every match after that and needed to beat leaders Europa Valmar for the second time, and GibYellow Animals in their last match, to be Champions of Gibraltar for the 30th time.
They did not fail.
On Wednesday, Stars lost the first quarter 15-18 against Europa Valmar but recovered to lead 40-37 at half-time. EV tried hard to stay in the game but Stars had the bit between their teeth and, through relentless defensive pressure and patient offence, increased their lead to 57-51 by the end of the third quarter. EV crumbled in the last quarter and only some late baskets as Stars relaxed made the final score a more respectable 75-64.
Angel Guerrero 19, Thomas Yome 18, Alex Garcia 13 and Chico Ortiz 12 led the winners, while Mohamed El Yettefti 17 and Gustavo Guerra 13 topped EV’s scoring.
So, Bavaria Blue Stars faced GibYellow Animals on Monday knowing that a win would give them the title. The Animals provided stiff opposition, although there was just pride in it for them. Stars won the first two quarters 22-18, 19-17, and just edged the third 18-17, but their defensive switches led to an increasing anarchy in Animals offence, and a string of turnovers led to what can best be described as the demolition of a good team by a very good team. The fourth quarter ended in a scandalous 33-8 scoreline, for a final 92-60 result.
Yome led the game with 30 points, followed by team-mates Garcia 23 and Guerrero 19, and opponents Callum Culross 14, C C Thong 11 and Jairo Ledesma 10.
Minister for Sport Steven Linares presented the League Shield and winners’ medals.
In the last First Division match of the season, with nothing at stake, Europa Valmar (El Yettefti 18, Javi Guerra 16) beat Hercules (Jesus Camacho 12) 62-43.
The Under 15 Boys League, the only league competition pending a decision, sees Lincoln Bayside needing to beat Europa Valmar by at least 7 points to become champions. They fight it out tomorrow Thursday, tip-off 5.15 pm.
The season ends with the GABBA KO Cup.
In the Preliminary Round, Europa Valmar Fusion face Lincoln Bayside Reserves on Friday at 7.45pm.
In the Quarter Finals, Hercules face Bavaria Blue Stars on Monday at 7.15pm, followed at 9.00 pm by GibYellow Beasts v Bavaria Blue Stars Reserves.
On Tuesday, Europa Valmar Reserves take on Europa Valmar at 7.15 pm, and GibYellow Animals meet the winner of the Preliminary Round tie at 9.15 pm. - J.G.