(SNO) – Saint Lucia went winless and finished 9th overall in the 2021 FIBA Americup Pre-qualifier Tournament in Paramaribo, Suriname on Friday, going down to Haiti 100-62, the biggest loss by far for the Cerulean Blue.
The Haitians found themselves playing what was really an exhibition game, not because of a lack of talent, but due to having fielded a number of ineligible players, thus forfeiting all of their preliminary games.
Going into the last match, Saint Lucia had lost their previous fixtures by an average of 14 points per game, going down to hosts Suriname, neighbours Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Guyana.
In the tilt against Haiti, Saint Lucia was massively outclassed, conceding a lead as big as 42 points, getting outshot 49.3% to 32.5%, and outrebounded 55-42. The sole silver lining was that they had just 14 turnovers.
Joel Polius had his second strong game for Saint Lucia, posting 14 points and six rebounds. Linzel Alcee led with nine rebounds. Marcian Calderon added 11 points, five rebounds. John Paul contributed 10 points.
Yandell Denis had his worst outing, missing all but one of his field goal attempts, after enduring physical defense from the Haitians.
Saint Lucia coach Fitzgerald Sutton said that, given his team’s long absence from international competition and their lack of big game experience, he was pleased with a lot of what he saw from his charges.
“We came in here at the bottom, maybe along with a couple of other teams – we’re still at the bottom, that’s fine. We’ll get to the top, we’re going to get to the top, it’s our goal to get to the top, you know? I always say, it’s only one way to go, it’s up. I’m a positive kind of guy, a positive personality.”
Sutton went on to note that there is one area in particular in which Saint Lucia’s players need to improve.
“We stick with what we know. We stick with the offense. We follow everything we’ve done in practice for five months, five months. But physically they’re not there. They need to go to the gym. My guys, with the exception of one guy [Polius] is the only person who takes going to the gym seriously. They’re little marshmallows.”