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Wizards are NBL champs on Mon Dec 14, 2009 4:38 pm



by the jamaican star .com
Robert Bailey, STAR Writer

Jubilant Tivoli Gardens Wizards players celebrate as they lift the championship trophy while Jamaica Basketball Association president Ajani Williams (second left) and club president Edward Seaga (left) look on, following their 85-72 victory over Majesty Gardens Legends to seal the best-of-three series 2-0 in the JBA/Flow All-Island National Basketball League final on Saturday at the National Indoor Sports Centre. - Anthony Minott

Tivoli Gardens Wizards captured the Flow-sponsored National Basketball League all-island competition, with an exciting 85-72 victory over Majesty Gardens Legends on Saturday night at the National Indoor Sport Centre.

The Wizards won the series 2-0, this after they had captured the opening game 83-67 on Thursday night at the same venue.

A delighted Edward 'Ted' Marshall, coach of the Wizards, said he was grateful for the championship triumph because his team had to work hard for it.

"I think that despite us having the better players, I think that we had to work," said Marshall. "I believe that if my players didn't follow the instructions, we could have lost the series."

"I think we also underestimated Majesty, and this was the reason why every time we put up a big lead, they rallied back at us," Marshall added.

Meanwhile, Marland Nattie, coach of the Majesty, who was also beaten by the Wizards in the Southern Conference final, conceded that his team was outplayed by their opponents in the series.

"I think my players failed to play according to instructions because everybody wanted to do their own thing and no one stuck to the game plan," said Nattie.

"We were also outplayed by Tivoli in most parts of the game because they were a lot more patient in the transitional game," Nattie added.

looked composed

The Wizards began confidently, which saw them easing to an exciting 48-43 lead at half-time. The champions, looked composed in both the attacking and defensive thirds and as a result quickly extended their lead (58-45) midway the third quarter. However, Majesty rallied to close the quarter on a 17-7 run, which included two three-pointers from captain, Baldon Todd. Despite this, the Wizards led 66-61 at the end of the third quarter.

Wizards offensive standouts Kirk Ferguson (25 points and 12 rebounds) and Andrew Wilby (15 points and 19 rebounds) increased their dominance in the fourth period as they eased to their third national title.

Meanwhile, former champions, Urban Knight captured the third-place trophy, with an 77-57 win over Manchester Pythons.

Tivoli collected their NBL trophy and the first-place prize of $300,000 while Majesty walked away with the runners-up trophy and $125,000. Kirk Ferguson of the Wizards was voted the Most Valuable Player of the finals.

Tivoli Wizards' Andre Whilby (second left) shoots over Majesty Gardens' trio from left-right, Boldon Todd, Kemo Gordon and Maurice Blackwood, as Tivoli's Anthony Farquharson (extreme right) looks on during game two of the JBA/Flow All-Island National Basketball League final on Saturday. Tivoli Wizards won 85-72 to seal the best-of-three series 2-0. - Anthony Minott

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