29 September 2008

SEYCHELLES : HOTSHOTS … 2008 Women’s League champions

ONLY Anse Etoile Stars could stop HotShots from being crowned 2008 Women’s League champions. Instead the Anse Boileau-based team wrestled the championship title from the grasps of the Stars who had held it in their possession for the last three years.

On Saturday at the Palais des Sports, HotShots won the title decider 62-59 to be crowned champions with an unbeaten record in 10 games in the six-team league.
After losing the first-round encounter 46-57, the Stars needed to win by at least a 12-point margin to harbour the hope of retaining the title. But with skipper and centre Tina Agathine being a pillar of strength for HotShots, the Stars had no chance of putting one over their main rivals.
Agathine was instrumental for HotShots at both ends of the court – bringing down defensive and offensive rebounds, blocking shots and scoring in the paint. In fact, she led all scores with 27 points, but got valuable help in offence from Jenita Toussaint (16 points including four 3-pointers) and Seychelles power forward Myra Solin (13 points).

A volleyballer with Women’s Division One League champions Arsu, Agathine scored 10 points for HotShots in the first quarter which they won 14-12.

In the second quarter, HotShots trailed but twice equalised at 23-23 and 25-25 until the Stars got back-to-back treys from Brigitte Nibourette and playmaker Lindy Mathiot to go for the breather with a six-point lead – 31-25.

On a Geneviève Beaudoin 3-pointer with less than four minutes played in the third quarter, Anse Etoile Stars brought their lead to nine points (39-30) and they must have thought they could achieve their objective of a big win.

In less than three minutes, the score was once again locked at 41-41 as Toussaint buried the third of her four treys, but HotShots trailed 43-47 at the end of 30 minutes of play.
On a Solin lay-up with 5 minutes 39 seconds (5:39) left in the fourth quarter HotShots again equalised at 51-51 and when Agathine gave them the lead at 53-51 on another lay-up following a nice roll, the Stars had to do the chasing.
On an Agathine jumper with 3:40 left on the clock, HotShots led 60-53, but coach Philip Arissol’s team scored just two more points through their top scorer, while the Stars got six but still not enough to get them the win they wanted.
Playmaker Mathiot (13 points) and Beaudoin (12) were the Stars’ best scorers.
Speaking to Sports Nation, HotShots’ skipper and centre Agathine said: “We worked hard for today’s (Saturday’s) victory. We were determined as we did not want to commit the same mistake as last year when we conceded a heart-breaking defeat in the second-round encounter after we won the first match. I knew I could make the difference today (Saturday) and I heeded my coach’s advice to talk less with the game’s officials, play hard and score.”

Coach Arissol dedicated the victory and the championship title to all his players.

“They wanted it and they got it. But I’m not a 100% satisfied with how we played. Now, we can shift our focus on the defence of the Seychelles Basketball Federation (SBF) Cup crown. I have a feeling that we will meet the Stars in the final and the match winners will be decided in the third match.”

This is HotShots’ only second league triumph and the first came in 2002.

G. G.

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