Basketball

Panthers and Storm leading way in ECL

  • Young gun: Jorel Smith has impressed for the Hornets (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

The Atlantic Vision Care Elite City League is in full swing, with four more matches taking place this weekend.

The Renegades take on the Falcons at 7pm today, followed by the Hornets and Lions, while tomorrow sees the Panthers against the Lions, at 7pm, before Storm take on Warriors. All matches take place at Somersfield Academy.

“Things are going reasonably well,” Cecil Hendrickson, the Bermuda Basketball Association secretary-general, said.

“We were able to get a title sponsor on board with Atlantic Vision Care, so it’s now the Atlantic Vision Care Elite City League.

“We have two expansion teams, the Hornets and the Renegades. Those two teams have started off reasonably well. A couple of the other teams are struggling, based off of, I guess, protecting certain players.

“You get to protect three players, then you get to redraft the rest of your team and a couple of teams have protected players who weren’t available for the early part of the season.

“They’re banking on the fact that all the teams make the play-offs, so that’s a different strategy for what has been able to happen in recent years.”

Hendrickson’s own Panthers top the standings, at 4-1, with Storm not far behind at 3-1, while the Hornets may have won only one game, but have plenty of young talent.

“The Storm have been reasonably solid this year,” Hendrickson said. “The defending champs, the Panthers, my team’s only loss was a forfeit on Sunday.

“So, coming down the stretch, as teams start to round out, the Hornets are looking pretty good, they’re still working on some chemistry with some players who are just showing up. The Warriors are always solid.”

Teenage point guard Jorel Smith, who helped the Thundercats to the best record in the Summer Island Basketball League, is tipped for stardom by Hendrickson.

“His ball-handling ability and the ability to help his team stretch the floor with his shooting and decision-making have been good,” Hendrickson said. “He came out with some unbelievable assists [in their 79-77 defeat by Warriors on Wednesday].

“He has elevated his team’s level just enough where they could be a pretty dangerous team in the play-offs once they gel.”