Looking to give under-16 girls basketball players a chance to showcase their skills this summer, junior girls national team coach Varel Davis decided to form a travel team, Elite Ballers. They traveled to Orlando, Florida, and finished second in the Super 6 Basketball Tournament held at the Rosemont Community Center in Orlando.
The tournament ran from August 5-7. The Elite Ballers team played in the championship game and lost 45-31 to the Colorado 76ers Gold.
Overall, the team finished with a 2-2 win/loss record in the tournament.
The squad consisted of Savannah Turnquest, Dominiqua Rolle, Geontae Simpson, Dior-Rae Scott, Terell McCoy, Danielle McCoy, Shenell Stewart, Teanna Gibson, Vincinique Dames, Geraniqua Bethel, Valtasia Woodside and Trinity Bodie.
Assisting Davis was Shakira Farrington. Jimmy Clarke assisted with the practice sessions.
Davis said she was pleased with her team’s performance.
“The tournament went very well,” Davis said. “We were able to play four games and made it to the championship. The exposure and experience that they got from this will go a very long way in their development. I was pleased to see that a few scouts came to speak with me about the girls. I was able to secure three high school scholarship offers for the young ladies.”
This was the first time some of the girls played competitively since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020.
“The girls saw what they need to do and will come back home and work on their games. Speaking to the scouts and coaches, they play about 50 games throughout the course of the year. Our young people need to play more games, especially to get our teams prepared to play internationally. They need to play more games and do more traveling,” Davis said.
She added that the Bahamas Basketball Federation (BBF) was not able to fund the under-17 girls national team to the Centrobasket Under-17 (U17) Girls Championship in Managua, Nicaragua, this summer. Forming the Elite Ballers team was a way to give the girls an opportunity to play, said Davis.
“I decided to create my own basketball club. I was able to create this club and saw there were some AAU (Amateur Atlantic Union) games in Orlando. I got the team in the tournament so the girls could participate in something. They are hard-working, and seeing that they were not able to travel to Centrobasket to represent their country, they were enthused about this tournament. For me, I felt just as bad as them because I put in the time with the girls. They needed this exposure and I’m grateful that they got it.”
Davis said this was her first time organizing a trip like this. She added that more trips like this are on the way.
Davis said she is grateful to the team’s sponsors, including Sun Oil Limited, Roxbergh Williams, Discount Distributors, Robert’s Furniture, Bahamas Bus and Truck, A Sure Win, Acropolis, the Myers Group of Companies Ltd., C2G Shipping, Vaughn Jones Memorial Center, Demeritte’s Funeral Home, Nassau Agencies, QBC, Dr. Marsha Williams Bethel, John Stuart, Erika Edgecombe, Member of Parliament (MP) for North Andros and the Berry Islands Leonardo Lightbourne, Jessica Murray and Ryan Turnquest.