Tuesday, Jul 23, 2019
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HOYTES presents top standard female basketball competition

It was a classic final game!

Few championship games in any sports discipline can lay claim to the intensity and really excellent play as provided by the Bishop Michael Eldon School seniors and their rivals from St. George’s High, to close out the HOYTES (Helping Our Youth Through Education and Sports) Geneva Rutherford Girls Basketball Classic on Saturday evening.

In the dimly-lit St. George’s Gymnasium, which did not do justice to the caliber of competition, Bishop Michael Eldon emerged victorious, 33-32, in Freeport, Grand Bahama.

HOYTES Founder Coach Gladstone “Moon” McPhee was brimming over with pride throughout the final half of the nip-and-tuck battle to decide the team with unofficial bragging rights in the land. There is a national high school championship in basketball for girls, but as with the Hugh Campbell Tournament for boys, the HOYTES Girls Classic has been considered by some as the top basketball event for the fairer sex in the country.

Early in the game, Bishop Michael Eldon took control as the favored St. George’s team seemed tentative and was guilty of costly turnovers. Bishop Michael Eldon showed clearly that an upset would not be out of the question. However, in the second half, with Candy Outten leading the way, St. George’s showed the capacity that made them the team to beat in the tournament. She was terrific on offense and defense. Outten was all over the court, playing the passing lanes and forcing Bishop Michael Eldon into turnovers. She finished with 15 points, but to no ultimate avail.

Eventual Most Outstanding Player Myah Greene was the better player for the occasion and her team came away with a thrilling one-point triumph.

In essence though, the contest was one for the ages, and although a team had to be recorded as victorious, all of the players were winners. They exhibited class play throughout and struck a big blow for women in sports, here in The Bahamas.

As is the case in many instances in our society, women are treated as second class citizens. This is particularly true in sports. Their hard work and high performances deserve a much greater display of interest. As great as the game was, there is another aspect that diminished the impact.

McPhee blasted parents of the young ladies who “came here and played their hearts out”.

He said: “These young ladies gave it their all, and with a few exceptions, the parents just did not support them. I mean, game after game… look, we played 30-plus games, and the parents of these fine athletes just did not show up. That is a disgrace. They are the main reason, it looks like this is a wasted effort by me and those who have helped me with this tournament for 20 years.

“I’ve had it, really, with the lack of support by the parents. I will make an announcement as to what will happen with the tournament going forward, but the parents have disappointed me year after year. There are a few faithful ones, a small percentage who would come out, at least, to one or several of the matches, but by and large, mothers and fathers have not supported this tournament. I’m tired of just a few having to shoulder the burden to present something that is so important for the development of our women.”

Noticeably absent as well, were official representatives of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture and the Ministry of Education. The Ministry of Tourism was represented by Sports Manager Nuvolari Chootosingh.

McPhee’s primary focus, though, was on the parents.

“They, the parents, benefit handsomely from basketball. We provide avenues for further education through scholarships. That saves parents a lot of money,” said McPhee.

Indeed, parents need to think of what they would have to pay for four years of college without basketball scholarships (or through other sports).

I support Coach McPhee in decrying the absence of the vast majority of parents of the basketball players who represented their institutions so wonderfully well this past week.

Three cheers to Coach McPhee and his associates; and the young ladies, their coaches and their supporters including the principals who came out!

The 20th HOYTES Geneva Rutherford Girls Basketball Classic is now history. That might have been the last one, depending upon whether Coach McPhee decides to continue persevering.

• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at e-mail address sturrup1504@gmail.com or on WhatsApp at (242) 727-6363.

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