With the Hugh Campbell Basketball Classic now over, senior boys basketball teams now turn their focus to the 2019 Bahamas National High School Basketball Championships which will be held March 21 to April 1 at the St. George’s Gymnasium in Freeport, Grand Bahama. The announcement was made at a press conference held at the Ministry of Education by Senior Education Officer Evon Wisdom yesterday. Also present was co-chairman of the championships and Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF) Vice President Keith “Belzie” Smith.
The championships will accommodate 20 of the top male high school teams and 11 or 12 of the top female high school teams in the country. There will be no Family Island division in this year’s event. Wisdom said: “To our chagrin, we love the Family Island Division, but expenses and our budget calls for us not to bring in those 10, and in some cases, 11 extra teams representing each one of the Family Islands.”
The selection of teams has not been finalized as yet and will be chosen by a select committee spearheaded by Charlie Robins, president of the BBF; basketball enthusiast Oswald “Ozzie” Simmons and other persons who were not named.
Wisdom stated that there will be 16 male teams who will qualify outright and there will be a selection process of four wildcard teams that will be put into consideration for selection for the boys ‘Super20’. He went on to say that the committee does not want to see unbalanced games at the national high school championships level. The teams will be announced at a later date.
The official airline for the tournament is Bahamasair. The national airline has offered special discount rates for participating teams and officials. Teams will leave on March 27 for the tournament. The Royal Islander Hotel and the Freeport Resort and Club are the official hotels.
Smith said he was pleased with the level of high school coaching, especially what he saw at the recently completed Hugh Campbell Classic. He said: “I was very pleased with the level of play. Before, I was very critical of our coaches because it seemed like they did not take the time to teach the game properly at that level. At one point, the players would just run up and down using their athletic prowess to beat the next guy. I was happy to see that when Coach Bowles needed a basket, he pulled the ball out, ran a play and it was successful. These are the things that international coaches are looking for in our young men at this age.”
Smith went on to say that the BBF will be working hard with the Local Organizing Committee of the high school nationals in Grand Bahama to ensure that everything is in place. He added that this will be the best high school nationals in the brief four-year history of the event.
Smith said that the BBF will be embarking on projects in the Family Islands and will further develop female basketball in the country. Coming off the heels of The Bahamas senior men’s national basketball team advancing to the 2021 FIBA AmeriCup Qualifiers last weekend, this tournament adds more enthusiasm for basketball in the country.
Winning last year’s boys championship was the Tabernacle Baptist Academy Falcons out of Grand Bahama. The Doris Johnson Mystic Marlins out of New Providence won the girls championship and Bimini’s Gateway Christian Academy took the Family Island Division.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism
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