Sarnians hold court at Fort
JERSEY suffered a sixth consecutive men’s inter-insular defeat against a slick and well-drilled Guernsey on Saturday.
It was a disappointing day overall, results-wise, for the hosts at Fort Regent, as they were also defeated in the women’s, under-21 and U17 matches.
Jersey’s men were well in their contest at half-time, trailing 36-28, but it ran away from them at the start of the third period when Guernsey scored 11 unanswered points.
Guernsey, a physical outfit, then powered their way to an 85-55 success.
Jersey, defeated 84-49 last year, worked tirelessly, but they did not have the injection of pace that Guernsey possessed – the diminutive Jason Hooper in particular – backed up by fine all-round displays by Agris Dulbinskis and Michael Beausire.
Jersey had good spells, but they had no luck at times as shots failed to drop and, coupled with some excellent blocked challenges and interceptions by Guernsey, the visitors profited from fast-breaks and clinical shooting.
Jersey coach Bob Gouzinis said: ‘It was a tough game, quite physical and I think Guernsey wanted it more than us.
‘If you are not willing to win the third quarter you have a big problem later on. If we had wanted the game more we could have had a bigger fight then.
‘On occasions the ball just would not go in and Guernsey were the better team, overall, on the day.
‘As always with the inter-insular, with everyone who is on court, they try to put 100 per cent in and sometimes they over-think and over-play things.
‘We’ll go back to the training gym now and try and get better for next year.
‘Guernsey are a good team and they have more players that they did not bring this time, so compared to us they have more people playing and more consistently with the Island team and I think it shows.
‘Over the past five to ten years they’ve had tougher games and did better in the Island Games, so their roster has acquired a lot more experience and they seem to be able to bring that back to their island and gradually raise their level.’
Guernsey coach Adam Farish, who pre-match promised a ‘faster and fitter’ squad than last year, said: ‘It was a satisfying victory. We had a lot of changes in personnel this year as some of our big players were unavailable.
‘That shows the strength in depth in our squad and the hard work and the hours these guys put in is phenomenal.
‘A lot of people don’t see that, even the guys at home . . . they don’t see how much effort these guys put in.
‘We haven’t been able to play much together this year outside of the training, so our aim was to substitute people in with no loss of intensity and no loss of flow and I think we achieved that today.
‘Jason [Hooper] and Agis [Dulbinskis] have shared the MVP [most valuable player] between themselves for the last six years, or something like that, and they catch the eye.
‘Mikey Beausire put in an awesome shift today as well. We were missing some big guys and Mikey and Andrejas [Vananovs] knew they had their work cut out, but Mikey was just sensational, he was up and down the court and for a guy of his size he kept up really well.
‘It’s a big year next year as it’s Guernsey’s 50th anniversary. It’s an Island Games year as well and we’ve a home inter-insular so, hopefully, we can go to seven [wins] and cap off a golden 50th year really well.’
Jersey were just one point behind late in the first quarter, but a couple of missed three-pointers resulted in Guernsey opening up a six-point lead.
Guernsey missed four consecutive free throws in the second period, resulting in Jersey getting back to trail 28-27 following a hat-trick of three-point baskets by Jake Michel.
The Sarnians responded with a three-pointer from Hooper, before edging ahead 36-28 at half-time.
Three minutes later the Sarnians were 47-28 in front.
The advantage was extended to 25 points with ten minutes remaining and as Jersey’s missed opportunities stacked up, Guernsey eased to victory.
Michel returned 11 points for the hosts and Guillaume Hoareau nine, while Hopper and Dulbinskis scored 23 and 22 points respectively for Guernsey.
Jersey’s women were beaten 69-23 by a Guernsey side which included 13-year-old Emma Sykes. The women in green have now won a record 19 inter-insular games in a row.
Jersey coach James Reed said: ‘I was pleased with the way we performed, Guernsey are a very good side and it was good to be able to give everyone time on court.
‘It was a great group performance and we’ll now continue to work hard ahead of the Island Games in Gibraltar next year.’
The U21s served up a thriller, with Guernsey overturning a 13-point half-time deficit to win 67-61.
Jersey coach Stewart Gilmour said: ‘It was a really great game and Jersey were always in control.
‘Unfortunately we got into foul trouble losing three players, resulting in Guernsey producing a strong finish.’
Gilmour praised the performances off Luke Newton and Matthew Tweedie.
Jersey’s U17s, for whom Greg Langston and Aaron Le Flohic excelled, went down to a strong Guernsey outfit, 80-43.