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Jan 30, 2004

Primary schools battle it out in basketball finals

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With the current lull in professional sports, attention has shifted to competition in the amateur leagues, and particularly our schools. Yesterday at the Belize City Centre Patrick Jones was in the stands as primary students fought it out for the district basketball title.

Patrick Jones, Reporting

The competition started out with eight teams, four males and four females in search of a chance to represent the Belize District in the National Primary School Basketball Championship next week in Orange Walk. Tournament Organiser Marvin Ottley says competition, even at this level, is usually fierce.

Marvin Ottley, Basketball Tournament Organizer

“As the competition progress you normally see better play come from all the different schools. In Belize City, which we at the Sports Council consider as the strong hold for most of the tournaments, we have found out that the Belize City teams are more prepared than the rural teams.”

And that level of preparation was in evidence when Queen Square Anglican and Crooked Tree Government schools met in the boy’s semi-final round. Queen Square came out firing on all cylinders and within the first five minutes had sunk five baskets and opened up a ten-point lead, one they would never relinquish. Head coach Bart Ellis says it all comes down to strategy.

Bart Ellis, Head Coach, Queen Square Anglican

“We notice that the team is a little slow, so we going with mostly fast breaks. My centre is trained that whenever he receives the ball, it’s just a matter of throwing it down to my guard Leslie Richards and he will be the one to score most of my points. So it’s mostly fast breaking plays right now.”

And no matter how hard they tried, the Crooked Tree players were clearly outmatched, at least on this outing.

David Goldsberry, Head Coach, Crooked Tree

“Well we’re running the two-three defence and we’re running the diamond press threat, full court press after we score. So hopefully that will produce some points for us and get some points on the board here.”

But those points were elusive and in the end Queen Square racked up a lopsided 53-11 victory, relegating Crooked Tree to a search for third place. Ottley says he is encouraged by the level of basketball played at the primary school level.

Marvin Ottley

“Our progression is just a little bit better because from last year to tournament we realise that some of the kids have moved from primary to secondary and they are playing on the high school teams already. So that’s our first step to make that when they leave from here, sport-wise they are prepared to play at the high school level.”

Bart Ellis

“Well it is just a matter of teaching the kids the fundamentals. We have spent a lot of time practicing. We have spent a lot of time speaking to each other and we have lost like two very important games. And what we see from those loses is that we have some weakness like keeping our composure. So what I tell them to do just come out, have fun and as long as they having fun, they should have the win on our side. So that’s what is happening.”

And in the end, Queen Square dominated their opponents and walked away with the District Championship. They join the girls of St. John’s Anglican School in representing the Belize District in the nationals on Friday of next week. Patrick Jones, for News 5.

Orange Walk will be the venue for next week’s national finals.



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