Second half of season set to start
Two of the top teams in the New Providence Women’s Basketball Association(NPWBA), the Four J’s Cheetahs and the Bommer G. Angels, are looking to pick up where they left off when the second half of the season resumes tonight. The Cheetahs are scheduled to take on the College of The Bahamas Lady Caribs and the Angels will battle the Johnson’s Lady Truckers.
Both the Lady Caribs and Lady Truckers are realistic threats to the two top squads, but according to Anthony Swaby, one of the league’s vice presidents, the way the teams are positioned heading into the playoffs, will likely determine which two squads will advance. The first game tonight, will tip off at 7:30 p.m. at the D.W. Davis Gymnasium.
“The first half of the season was good, it was very competitive,” said Swaby.”Everything has been falling in place, so we are looking forward to an exciting second half of the season. Right now, the two top teams are the two teams that played in the championships last year, the Angels and the Cheetahs, but you never know how it is going to end up, with the playoffs being structured the way they are. Even though we have two top teams, the third and fourth teams can still pull off shocking wins. With the Truckers having Shantell back,
I think that will make a difference with that team.
“We are looking forward to the second half, and yes, it is possible to see a changing of the guard, but you can never tell. Like I said, any team can pull it off. The Cheetahs have defeated the Angels once this season, but that doesn’t mean that they will be the two teams playing for the championship. The Cheetahs have acquired some outstanding young ball players who I think will make a difference. The Angels have a mixture of veteran and young players. The Caribs, they have some aggressive players, so all that could make a difference on game night.”
The Angels are looking to repeat as champions and veteran players like Sharelle Cash, Suzette McKenzie, Keisha Richardson and Diasti Delancey are trying to ensure that they do. However, Cheetahs’players Linda Pierre, Audrey Martin, Anastacia Moultrie and Latoya Thompson will look to avenge the loss they suffered in last year’s championship.
Swaby said: ”All the teams have been able to acquire some outstanding young ball players, so it will come down to which team plays the hardest and who wants it the most. You will see who was working and who wasn’t over the break. That will determine a lot in tomorrow’s games, but the league has some real outstanding young ball players. I see a bright future in all of them, but it will depend on how long they will last and play against some of the veteran players, to improve.”
Even though there has been growth in terms of younger players, Swaby revealed that the league is nowhere close to where it was, when it was officially launched. He commended veteran players, coaches and league officials for finding and bringing in new talent to the league, but believes that there is a downfall.
“I think the women’s league has been able to keep the interest in young ball players,”said Swaby.”If you look at all of the teams you have, there’s a good core of coaches and veteran players who steer them in the right direction.
“As far as returning to the level it once was, no, I don’t think it has, and even though all the teams are basically competitive, it still is not up to that high level. This is because, or is a reflection of when you go out to high school games and you see the level of play there. It just takes too long to get those who are interested and have some sort of talent playing at a competitive level, so it is hard, but with consistent play, which the league provides, I think we will have a good group of young players coming up, but they have to remain interested in the sport. Don’t get me wrong, this is not the only sport to be experiencing this problem. I think volleyball is having the same problem and some other sports. It just starts at the school level. If you look at the level of play for the high school ball players compared to some 10 years ago, there is just a decrease in the talent that is there.”
Games will be played again on Saturday at the D.W. Davis gym. The Angels will take on the Lady Caribs and while the Cheetahs will play the Junior All-stars.