Fatigue proved costly, says Trott
The Bermuda basketball team have suffered a pair of defeats in their opening two matches at the FIBA AmeriCup 2021 Caribbean Pre-Qualifier in Surinam.
Bermuda lost their opening group B match 91-78 to Antigua and Barbuda on Sunday before being beaten 87-78 by Barbados yesterday.
Chris Crumpler led the scoring for Bermuda against Barbados with 33 points, including a treble of three-pointers. Jason Lowe also contributed 23 points, converting five of his 11 three-point efforts.
Barbados had lost their opening game 78-62 to Haiti, who Bermuda face in their final group game on Thursday.
Coach Gavin MacKenzie's side return to action tomorrow against Montserrat, who were defeated 87-66 by Antigua in their first match.
Tim Trott, the Bermuda assistant coach, believes “fatigue was the difference” in their defeat to Antigua at the weekend.
Bermuda suffered an early setback after losing the experienced Crumpler who picked up three fouls in the first quarter, forcing him to miss the remainder of the half.
In Crumpler's absence, Jaren Harvey stepped up as the team's main ball handler and rose to the challenge, top-scoring for the island with 28 points, converting eight of his 14 three-point attempts.
Despite missing a large chunk of the match, Crumpler weighed in with 16 points, including four from nine three-pointers.
Trott said Bermuda made a nervous start but improved as the game wore on, levelling at 72-72 with 6½ minutes left before exhaustion set in to hand Antigua the advantage.
“Fatigue was the difference in the game as Bermuda failed to execute on offence and defence,” Trott said. “The game started off tight. [It was] obvious that the players had some nervous energy.
“With fatigue being a factor, players were substituted freely while coach MacKenzie looked to see what line-up would play best.”
Bermuda were down 21-9 in the first quarter but responded well in the second, outscoring Antigua 23-19 to leave them trailing 40-32 at half-time. The third quarter was Bermuda's best period, as they sunk five three-pointers in a row and were more active forcing turnovers.
However, with their opponents enjoying a considerable height advantage, Trott said “a lack of size allowed Antigua to stay in the game through offensive rebounding”.
He added: “Forced shots and poor defensive rotations by Bermuda, and the experience of Antigua's veteran players allowed the score to balloon in the final minutes.”
Before heading to Surinam the Bermuda Basketball Association acquired two state-of-the-art shooting machines, called “The Gun”.
Trott said the new devices “came in handy” and helped with their game plan, which relied heavily on outside shooting.
The Caribbean Pre-Qualifier will qualify two teams for the AmeriCup Qualifiers, beginning in September. The two qualified Caribbean teams will join the South American and Central American Pre-Qualifier champions, along with the four eliminated Round One — FIBA Basketball World Cup Qualifier — Americas teams.
Group A consists of Grenada, Guyana, St Lucia, St Vincent and Surinam.