The 2019 Government Secondary Schools Sports Association (GSSSA) basketball championship, presented by Our TV, is set to get underway at the Loyola Hall Gymnasium on Gladstone Road, from February 10-15, 2020.
The announcement was made yesterday during a press conference held at the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island.
Champions will be determined in the junior boys and girls; and senior boys and girls divisions.
Action will begin at 4 p.m. on Monday, February 10 with the junior girls championship.
Thanks to Rev, the games will be played live on Our TV on channel 212.
According to Evon Wisdom, senior education officer at the Ministry of Education, a portion of the girls championships will be seen around 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. just before the news that begins at 7:30 p.m. The boys game will air live after the news at 8 p.m.
In the past years, the championships were played at the Kendal G. L. Isaacs National Gymnasium. However, the gym has been used as a shelter for the Hurricane Dorian evacuees and organizers had to use another suitable gymnasium – Loyola Hall.
“After talks this morning (Wednesday) with the caretaker, I can say that we will be able to have the championships. It would be grossly unfair to have millions of dollars of equipment brought in by Mr. Hall and Our TV and being in an environment that is hot. We are going to have air conditioning. [W]e are not going to have an empty stadium and we are not going to be in an uncomfortable environment,” Wisdom said.
Aliv, one of the sponsors, will be offering giveaways and providing free Wi-Fi at the games.
Another one of the sponsors of the championships is the Atlantis resort. Rick Gallagher, vice president of entertainment and special events at the resort, said the mega resort is happy to be a sponsor of the event.
“We are pleased in supporting the GSSSA and help young people to succeed and reach their potential,” Gallagher said. “They can get a chance to go to college to play sports, participate in basketball, both men and women; and to get a great education and build character. It is really important.”
Gallagher continued: “The Bahamas at heart is a big part of our mission, it is a big part of what we do here at Atlantis. It is an important initiative to us so we are happy to help to support and to be involved.”
Fred Taylor, Switcha brand manager at Lightbourn Trading Company Limited, another sponsor, said he got a call from Wisdom last Friday and was sold on being a part of the championships.
“We at Lightbourn Trading want to give back to our Bahamian society and what’s a better avenue other than sports and education? Me having a sports background, it’s a no brainer, let’s make it happen. I called my comrade and here we are today. At Lightbourn Trading we want to give back where we can and what better way to do it,” Taylor said.
Taylor added that they would like to be a part of the championships moving forward.
Joseph Culmer, Mars brand manager at Lightbourn Trading, added that they wanted to assist the younger generation.
“We just want to really help to build up the younger generation,” Culmer said. “We want to help partner and help to give back to all of you who support our brand. At Lightbourn Trading we are all in. We do make some money so we want that to trickle down and help to build up our economy.”
According to Wisdom, Lightbourn Trading will be giving credit to the GSSSA to outfit its canteen and snack bar at the championships. The products will be sold and the money will accrue to the GSSSA.
Varel Davis, president of the GSSSA, expressed gratitude to the sponsors for coming on board and said that the athletes are excited.
“These sponsorships will go a very long way in assisting us with our championship,” Davis said. “These kids are very excited. They have been working hard from November and they can’t wait to get to this point.”
Denycko Bowles, head coach of the defending GSSSA and Hugh Campbell champions, the Doris Johnson Mystic Marlins, said his team is ready to defend the title. The team had a 6-1 win-loss record at the end of the season.
“We started off on a good note. I think the team is really coming around now and we are really starting to get our bearings in championship form. I think we still have a very strong chance of defending our championship within the next couple days.”
They will play a pesky C.C. Sweeting Cobras in their playoffs matchup on Monday, February 3.
Also sponsoring the championships is Generali Insurance.
The best-of-three GSSSA playoffs series is set to begin tomorrow at 4 p.m. at the A.F. Adderley Gymnasium.
Fiona Tucker, GSSSA secretary, said teams have to get past the playoffs to get to the championships.
“You have to get through the playoffs first in order to get to the big dance of the championship… We have a lot of talented girls and boys and we invite everyone to come out and cheer on their favorite school,” Tucker said.
Kicking off tomorrow’s playoffs in the junior girls division will be the pennant winners, the T.A. Thompson Scorpions. They will play the fourth-seeded C.H. Reeves Raptors. In junior boys action, the pennant winners and defending champions, the D.W. Davis Royals, will play fourth place Raptors.
Over on the senior girls side, the pennant winners and defending champions, the C.I. Gibson Rattlers, take on the fourth seeded C.R. Walker Knights. In senior boys action, the number one seed Rattlers will play the Anatol Rodgers Timberwolves in the late game.
Playoffs action will continue on Monday, February 3, at 4 p.m. at the A.F. Adderley Gymnasium.