By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Some 41 years into its existence, although women have served as president, been referees, handle all the game time statistical data, and there has been no league catering to them, the BVI Basketball Federation will field a Women’s team when it hosts the 22nd CBC Championships starting on June 8. Hosts BVI debuts against Guyana at 9 p.m.
The team has been cut from 25 to 15 players head coach Brian “Bash” Brewley said and although there has been no league to pull players from, it has been a difficult task. “It’s a challenge, but they are excited and the coaches are excited,” he said. “They came with an open mind to learn and that’s the beauty about it.”
When they began putting the squad together 18 players turned out on the first day Brewley noted. Since then, they have gone through 25-30 girls. “Some came and after they saw the workout, the quit,” he explained. “We are down to 15 now and won’t have the final 12 until the technical meeting, but, we will hold on to 14 just incase of injuries or somebody can’t make it.”
Among the 15 are two players from Virgin Gorda, two collegians and several high school players. Brewley said they are trying to get the best in the country. The Virgin Gorda players as well of some others making the cut came up playing through the boys. The High School players have played in tournaments in St. Thomas, and they have pulled the best players from the lot.
“We never had a girl’s league before, but these are the girls that have the love for the game and have developed playing between the boys,” Brewley pointed out. “We had to start from scratch teaching them the fundamentals and teaching them how to play defense, but they are moving on pretty well. In last year’s tournament held here, there were about two scrap teams. If they come back with those kind of teams, I think we might be able to beat the. But, the seasoned teams, the Bahamas, Jamaica—those who have women’s programs set in place—we’re not going to beat them. We are trying to be competitive for the first time out.”
With the tournament being held here and the territory fielding women for the first time, Brewley said this is the ice breaker for putting a women’s league in place. There are lots of young girls starting to love the sport he added which will be a plus.
“This team is also a young team,” he pointed out. “We are going to have a hand on them year round because after the tournament, we’re not going to stop. We are going to continue. I’m giving 2-3 years and we should be moving from the bottom four to the top four.”
The final team of 12 will be selected from: Joy Victor, Tamara Phillips, Tafara Phillips, Daeria Malone, Shauliqua Malone, Ebony Fahie, Joyann Thomas, Dominique Wattley, Brianna Brewley, Gertrude Thomas, Michelle Smith, Makayla Pickering, Tylia Nibbs, Keithrece Smith and Tiffany Jennings. Coaches: Morris Wattley, Ronnie “Gola” Simmonds and Brian “Bash” Brewley.