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The National Sports Council’s (NSC) Wibisco/Shirley-sponsored Schoolgirls Competition

- Wednesday 04, February-2004

It may have taken a while in coming, but schoolgirls finally have a basketball league to call their own.

The National Sports Council’s (NSC) Wibisco/Shirley-sponsored Schoolgirls Competition is in its second year, but the consensus is that it is long overdue.

Orland Roach, head coach of league champions Garrison Secondary, is one person who shares such sentiments.

“Actually, it is 13 or 14 years behind time,” said Roach, whose girls beat Louis Lynch in the semifinals and then took out Springer in the final.

“Girls basketball was being played among schools in the north and a league was to have been started. But all you heard was talk and nothing came about.”

Adding that it was easier for girls to gain scholarships, Roach praised the cadre of NSC basketball coaches for finally bringing the league to fruition.

The movement up north produced the likes of Wanda Maynard-Morris, Celia Collymore and Sherrie Holder, all of the Coleridge and Parry School, who all gained scholarships at Pace University to pave the way for today’s crop of talented players.

NSC coach Cosmo Edwards, who also oversees the national junior girls programme, pointed out the island was a bit fortunate to have produced several scholarship awardees without having a formal schools’ programme.

In fact, the island has produced two Junior Caricom bronze medal winning teams, its first semi-professional player, two NCAA Division 1 players, and NCAA Division 2 conference awardees, all without having a schoolgirls league.

Played with boys

“Some of the girls who were able to get scholarships came through the system by playing with the boys and in the absence of a girls competition that opportunity really helped them. Now the girls will not be playing with the boys anymore because they have their own competition.”

Edwards noted that while the skill level had some way to go, the effort was not lacking, and this added something extra to the game.

This was evident at Friday’s semifinals as players dived, hustled and scrambled over every inch of the Barbados Community College gym.

It was again the case in the final as Garrison beat Springer 65-37, with Sade Clarke scoring 29 points for the champs. In the third place play-off, Coleridge and Parry beat Louis Lynch 67-36, led by the unstoppable Ruth Holder with 37 points.

Edwards revealed that the idea behind the competition had started a long time ago with one and two-day rallies at Springer Memorial School, the Garfield Sobers Gymnasium, and The St Michael School. The response grew, leading to sponsorship that facilitated the organisation of the inaugural competition last year.

“It is important because now it gives them something to look forward to that is their own, and on the sporting calendar in the schools,” he said.

“It should help us because now we have a number of teams in the competition and you can select from among this group and this can be a feeder system for the junior and senior national teams and also the clubs.”

Compliments of the Nation News

Solar Dynamics Clapham Bulls are already in a rampaging mood. Led by veteran point-guard Ryan Leacock who scored a season-high 29 points, the Bulls led 52-42 at the break, and never looked back.

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