SEYCHELLES : Curtain-raiser tournament - Champs Stars and Baya face stiff opposition

Coach Michel Malbrook’s Anse Etoile Stars (women) and Baya (men) started last season with wins in the Curtain-raiser tournament, but they face stiff opposition on the way to the finals this time.

With Malagasy Miantratsiory Rakotomahadimby leading all scores with 19 points, including two 3-pointers in last year’s final which they won 71-32 against HotShots to retain the title, the Stars will face the same Anse Boileau-based team in the semifinal stage tomorrow. The match will start at 5pm at the Mont Fleuri court.

While the Stars were drawn straight into the semis, HotShots had no trouble outscoring Cadettes by 104 points – 116-12 in their first match.

Playing without suspended centre Tina Agathine and player of the year 2009 Myra Solin, HotShots were no match for the Stars who dominated throughout, winning all four quarters – 21-4, 17-9, 14-7 and 19-12 – in the 2010 final.

The other semifinal on Saturday at 9am at the same venue is between RA Sisters and Mont Fleuri, who dispatched Juniors 63-36 in the earlier round.

The winners of the two semifinals will meet in the final on Sunday at 3pm at the Mont Fleuri court.

In the men’s competition, defending champions Baya will come up against last year’s league and cup double winners PLS Hawks in the quarterfinal, scheduled to tip off at 12 noon on Saturday.

Captain Robert Léon had the hot hands for Baya with 27 points, Michael Cupidon added 17 and Hendricks Denis got 12 in coach Malbrook’s team’s 78-77 victory over Premium Cobras, whom they dethroned in last year’s men’s Curtain-raiser final.

It was Denis who gave his team victory at 78-77 with a shot from the stripe, but he almost committed suicide when he threw an air-ball with 3.5 seconds left and although James Beier caught the ball on a fast break, he could not beat the buzzer.

Baya enjoyed a 97-65 win over Juniors in their first match to set up the mouth-watering encounter with the Hawks, who eliminated fellow first divisioners Mont Fleuri Dawgz 63-50. The winners will move to the semifinal, where they will play Cascade Bullets who collected victories against Drifters (74-55 in the first round) and Razors (62-30 in the quarterfinal).

The other two quarterfinal match-ups are Angels v RC Dynamics and MBU Rockers v Premium Cobras.

Anse Boileau-based Angels steamrollered inexperienced Cadets 195-16, RC Dynamics beat Beau Vallon Heat 64-40, MBU Rockers did not break sweat as they walked over AAP Brothers and Premium Cobras pummelled Anse Etoile 122-45.

The men’s final is on Sunday at 4.30pm at the Mont Fleuri court.