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Nov 3, 2017

Primary Schoolers Hit the Hoops Hardwood

While Birds Isle reverberated with drumming, over at the Saint John’s College gymnasium the pounding was on the basketball court. Teams from around the country were on hand for the national championships of the junior basketball competition. In the end, Belize District teams Saint Joseph R.C. School and Saint Martin De Porres won as overall 2017 Champs in the female and male divisions, respectively. News Five’s Duane Moody was there and files this report.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Female and male district champions in primary school basketball from across the country converged at the Saint John’s College Gymnasium in Belize City to the national championships in the junior basketball competition. Family and friends, including coaches and team players, aimed to walk away with bragging rights as the 2017 top basketballers. It is the culmination of a year of sporting activities.

 

Charlie Slusher

Charlie Slusher, Deputy Director, National Sports Council

“This is really the grand finale; this is like a festival for our student athletes. All of them have been having competition in their districts and they are the champions of their districts. So they should all be congratulated just for reaching this far. So after today will truly be who will be the number one basketball team in the entire country, so it is a great, great day for them. The National Sports Council, we try to promote sports for everyone and we cannot forget the females or the males, especially when it comes to our youths.”

 

As early as ten a.m. today, the matches began and one by one, teams were eliminated. Defending female champions, Saint Joseph R.C. School in Belize City are without a doubt coming for a repeat win.

 

Briah Clarke

Briah Clarke, Captain, Saint Joseph R.C. School

“We play our first two games; the first day we mi play against Corozal and we win eighteen-four; the second game was against Corozal and we win nineteen-three. And now we will play against Cayo and if we win, we wah play against Stann Creek for the championship. We feel confident because most of the girls that played last year gone dah high school and we get more girls and they feel confident.”

 

Duane Moody

As the captain of the team, talk to us about what you need to do to make sure that everybody is on the same page to win?”

 

Briah Clarke

“Well I need to be a leader to my teammates; make everybody get involved and know where to stay when they are on offense and play good defense.”

 

David Requeña

In an interesting twist, 2016 defending male champions from Holy Family School in Stann Creek were eliminated in a match against Faith Nazarene Boys of Cayo. Coach David Requeña and Captain Avant Moody hope that their defensive strategy will gain them the overall win.

 

David Requeña, Coach, Faith Nazarene Team

“It is hudut versus the hills…but it shows that when you run up the hill every day yo got that energy. And from the beginning, when we started the competition, it’s about defense. I always tell the guys, no matter how good a team, if you got defense, you’re strong and that’s what got us standing right now.”

 

Avant Moody

Avant Moody, Captain, Faith Nazarene Team

“Defending is the key to everything. Once you defend and get the man that is the most strongest for the team and lock him down, they got nowhere to go. So that’s the strategy that I use to take down a team.”

 

Duane Moody

“Now in terms of being a team leader, because you have to guide your team to victory; what’s the best practice that you put in place when you are on the court?”

 

Avant Moody

“Dribbling, finishing, shooting—that’s my workout for the day. Two-three hours in the morning on Saturdays, I work out with my club. Dribbling, shooting, driving to the basket; basic things I do. And I use my height to get over people, try to get rebounds and get points for my team to win.”

 

National Sports Council Deputy Director Charlie Slusher is no stranger to sports. He says that there are extreme benefits to engaging young athletes and promote their development in various sporting disciplines.

 

Charlie Slusher

“Like most sports, we have to start with our youths. As much as we all know, education is very fundamental, important, but also sport is an integral part of students or young people development. And so from the Sports Council point of view, we are also pushing that agenda and we are happy that a lot of the principals, a lot of the parents and coaches are also contributing to this event. And we want to again appeal to parents and teachers and coaches, and even principals, let the kids participate in sports. Don’t just concentrate on education; you know they need to be developed overall and again sport is very important. And I am happy that through the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture and the national Sports Council, we have these activities for our student athletes.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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