Starting this evening, community basketball returns in a big way with the staging of the Urban Renewal Sporting League Community Basketball Tournament.
In conjunction with the Providence Basketball Club, the tournament will run through July 14 inside the C.I. Gibson Gymnasium. A total of 22 teams from the various communities in New Providence will be represented, playing out of four districts – North, South, East and West.
In the north are Nassau Village, Pinewood, Centreville, Englerston, Bain & Grants Town and Marathon. Playing out of the south are Bamboo Town, South Beach, Mt. Moriah, Fort Charlotte, Golden Gates and St. Barnabas. In the east are Yamacraw, Elizabeth, Fox Hill, St. Anne’s, Freetown and Sea Breeze. Finally, coming out of the west are Garden Hills, Southern Shores, Carmichael, Tall Pines, Golden Isles and Killarney.
Each district will crown a champion and the final four will battle for the overall title, named in honor of Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis. It’s a 22-and-under tournament and will feature both males and females in action.
“We want the public to come out and watch some good clean basketball in a safe and clean environment and have a good time. Come out and support your constituencies,” said Providence Basketball Club Founder Kevin ‘KJ’ Johnson. “Scouts will be coming in town as well. A lot of young men have not been seen because of what we went through over the past two years with COVID. Hopefully, some of these young men will have an opportunity to get seen and get scholarships . We want our young men to focus on sports and not gang-banging. We want them to be shooting hoops and not guns. We want them to interact with each other and not be fearful of going into other communities. That’s the main idea of this tournament and hopefully it continues.”
The games will be played in two 15-minute halves and the preliminary round will be in a round-robin format. The top four teams in each district will go into the playoffs and the district champions will face off each other in a battle for the overall title. The games will be played on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at the C.I. Gibson Gymnasium, and the championship game is set for 8:30 p.m. on July 14.
“Sports brings camaraderie, sportsmanship, good character, forms relationships and it builds communities and brings them together,” said Member of Parliament for Marathon and Minister of State for Social Services and Urban Development Lisa Rahming. “I’m looking forward to this tournament. Let’s talk about basketball and let’s talk about sports. It is in the plan to extend this to Grand Bahama and to a lesser extent the family of islands. We’re looking for this event to bring families together.”
Chairman of Urban Renewal Stephen Dean said some of the country’s legends in basketball will be on hand to offer words of advice and encouragement to the players.
“The whole idea is for the youngsters to be inspired by some of our legends who live here in The Bahamas today and hopefully they could go on to have successful careers in basketball,” said Dean, “That is what we are going to do throughout this tournament. This is a positive shot in the arm for Urban Renewal and for the country.”
The games will start at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and around 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.