By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
The first Women’s team ever assembled to represent the territory in the 41-year history of the BVI Basketball Federation, ended its Caribbean Basketball Confederation Championships debut the same way their started it—with a victory over Guyana.
The BVI secured a 64-61 triumph over Guyana when the second CBC Women’s tournament to be hosted here, began on June 8. They fell to Barbados, 79-49, before losing to defending champs Jamaica, 61-28. They lost the game that would have put them to play for fifth and sixth place to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, 71-67.
In the finale, they overpowered winless Guyana, 72-62, with hot shooting in the second half, after leading 30-28 at the break. The BVI finished seventh with a 2-3 mark, while Guyana was 0-5.
“It was a beautiful way to end the tournament—we started with a win and finished with a win,” coach Brian “Bash” Brewley said, noting that they played special attention to Guyana’s Miriam McKenzie who was coming off a tournament high 35 points effort against Antigua and Barbuda on Thursday. “She was beautiful all through the tournament, so we said today, we’re not going to let her beat us. So out the gate, I said I’d make her work hard and we went box and one on her and that made the game that much easier for us.”
McKenzie who had eight of her 22 points and seven of her 16 rebounds at the half, helped Guyana tie the game at 30-30, with 8:30 left in the third period, then missed two free throws after a Tiffany Jennings’ personal foul.
From then, the BVI took control of the game with a 13-0 run to lead 43-30. Sisters Tyalia Nibbs-Henley and Tamara Phillip hit back to back treys during the run and another later on from Daeria Malone—whose trey sent the BVI into the half with a 30-28 lead—hit her fourth of six on the afternoon—and the BVI padded its lead to 18 points, 54-36 with 1:46 left.
Trailing 70-59 with just under a minute to go, McKenzie’s 3-point attempt was swatted into the crowd by Tamara, to preserve the BVI cushion.
Tamara narrowly missed a triple double with 21 points, 13 boards and nine assists to go with five blocks and four steals. Malone came off the bench to drop in 16 points.
Following the last game, Tammy said the players learnt a lot. “The only thing we have to catch up on is another point guard to get the pressure off me,” she said. “As you see, 40 minutes was a lot. They expected a lot out of me. Although my sister was on the bench, that’s where I came in—rebounding, crashing boards and feeding my players.”
Brewley praised his captain. “She was wonderful,” he noted. “She made it easier for all the rookies—she and her sister—they were beautiful. Tammy controlled the ball and Taffy controlled the boards. Tammy led the tournament in block shots. The two of them did a pretty good job.”
Tammy said the experience was good for the players. “Next year, we’re coming for sure, definitely,” she said. “This tournament has opened a lot for women.”