St. John’s Antigua- Co-ordinator of Inter-Schools Basketball within the Ministry of Sports, Carl “Bolie” Knight, has listed the newfound relationship with Antigua & Barbuda Basketball Association (ABBA) as one of the many highlights of the just ended Cool & Smooth Inter-Schools Basketball Competition.
The former national player and coach said that the national association has been working closely with the inter-schools programme which has resulted in a schools’ Future Stars team now taking part in the national league.
“This year, we had a meeting with the executive and we have been working closely together since then and as a matter of a fact, coming out of the schools programme, we have had a team named Future Stars who are now participating in the ABBA Second Division and so we are working closely together as when we (recommence) training after this holiday, we’ll be working closely with them with our elite training come right up to the summer when we would have those coaches from future stars visiting us back in Antigua at the end of June,” he said.
Another highlight of the programme this year according to Knight was the staging of the Mini Primary Division which offered a number of primary institutions to the opportunity to compete for the very first time.
“It was simply just fantastic. It went better than we thought it would. We had an improvement definitely from last year’s tournament and as a matter of a fact we even had more teams registered this year. We also had for the first time a new division, the Mini Primary Boys and Girls, which we had teams from out of the east like Parham, Pares, Willikies, and we even had Cedar Grove entering, so that was a tremendous success for us,” the co-ordinator said.
One of the only drawbacks this year, according to Knight, is the lack of qualified referees to officiate during fixtures. Coaches, he said, are used to fill the void.
“It would be nice if we could get some officials from outside to really do the games because the games are really officiated by our coaches and even though they are doing a great job it would be better if they could concentrate on their coaching but that’s what we have for now so we continue to do that,” Knight said.
“In terms of our statisticians, we would have liked to introduce some more overall stats in terms of assists and steals and so forth so that is something that we are also working on.”
Willikies Primary had a perfect season (6-0) as they captured the Mini Primary Division with Cody Thomas being adjudged the MVP, while St Joseph’s Academy (8-0) are the Mini Secondary champs. Victor Horseford was adjudged MVP.
Antigua Girls High School (AGHS) won the Mini Girls Division with a 5-0 record with their own Shakea O’Garro walking away with the MVP award.
Antigua Grammar School (AGS), which finished 6-0, won the Junior Division and Island Academy (7-0) captured the Senior Boys Division.
Dawny Francis of AGS and Chaz Samuel of Island Academy were MVPs in their respective divisions.
In the playoffs, AGS captured both the Mini Secondary and the Junior Boys divisions, while PMS won the Senior Girls title and Island Academy claimed the Senior Division.
The female player of the year was awarded to Jess St John of PMS, while Island Academy’s Chaz Samuel claimed the male prize. Edward Shaw was named coach of the year.