COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (CMC): Head coach Graeme West believes West Indies A’s resounding success in the one-day series against Sri Lanka is testament to the quality of players in the Caribbean first-class system, and a reminder of the importance of playing more cricket outside of the region. The one-day side whitewashed the hosts 3-0, producing a series of dominant batting displays to win every game comprehensively and compensate for the four-day side’s 2-1 defeat in the preceding unofficial ‘Test’ series. West said once the development shown during the series here continued, the pool of players from which the international squad was selected would be significantly enhanced. “It goes to show they are a number of players that are emerging from the first-class franchise system and they need to have opportunities to play overseas, to play against quality opposition to kind of assess where they are at and also to develop their skills and broaden their range of method, in order to be able to support the current players that are in the senior team,” West said. “If we can develop a stronger pool of players to supplement what we currently have, it starts to put a little bit more pressure on those players who are currently in position [in the senior side], and when injury or loss of form come along, then there are more players who are able to step up and perform to a good level that will produce positive results.” West Indies A started impressively, routing Sri Lanka A by 165 runs in Dambulla and followed up with a 109-run victory in the second game in Karunegala, after piling up a stunning 347 runs. The visitors won a rain-hit contest on Sunday, pulling off an eight-run win under the Duckworth-Lewis method, as they once again went past 300. Opener Kyle Hope, captain Jason Mohammed and Andre McCarthy all managed hundreds, while the exciting Rovman Powell slammed a pair of half-centuries. “It was a great achievement. In the three games we played, we had some outstanding performances from many of the players in the squad,” West said as he praised the side’s performance. “Certainly [in the final game], McCarthy coming into the team and scoring a fantastic hundred was one of the highlights, and it just goes to show the depth and quality we had in our squad.”
Gay, bound for San Diego State, did his best to keep the Parrots close, hitting a 3-pointer with 5:38 in the second quarter to cut the deficit to five points. The senior struggled thereafter, though, finishing 4 of 18 in the first half. “Hey, I’m human, I can’t hit every shot,” Gay said. “I just tried to shoot myself out of the slump.” Gay missed 12 shots in a row before scoring the final seven of the third quarter for Poly, which trailed 42-35 entering the fourth quarter. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! And he’s finally getting his chance. The 6-foot-2 junior transferred from Taft of Woodland Hills to Westchester over the summer and quickly emerged as the man in charge of running the offense. The transformation came full circle Thursday as Bellfield guided the Comets to a 63-54 victory over Poly of Sun Valley and into the City Section Championship game against Fairfax on March 3 at the Sports Arena. “Oscar is a great addition,” Westchester coach Ed Azzam said. “He gets things going for us. We feel real comfortable when the ball is in his hands.” The loss ended a rather remarkable season for third-seeded Poly (23-5), which was making its first appearance in a semifinal game since 1964. Senior standout DJ Gay struggled against the second-seeded Comets (23-5) and finished with 24 points on 8-of-33 shooting. “If you would have told me at the beginning of the season that we’d be one victory away from playing in the finals, I would’ve told you that you’re crazy,” Poly coach Brad Katz said. “DJ and the rest of the guys have nothing to be ashamed of. They can hold their heads as high as anyone else in the City.” Bellfield created numerous easy baskets for his teammates early on and Dwayne Polee Jr. was the main beneficiary of the unselfishness. The freshman, who verbally committed to USC, came off the bench and scored 10 points in the first quarter to give Westchester a 15-9 lead. Oscar Bellfield didn’t expect much. All he wanted was an opportunity to play point guard. Developing into a floor leader, a distributor and a facilitator has been the goal since day one.