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Jun 26, 2019

The National Primary School Basketball Championships

Budding basketball athletes from all the districts converged in Belize City today. They represent the cream of the crop at their age and in their schools. Having made their mark at home and with the 2019 champions at stake, their eyes are now on winning cash to move on to high schools. The highly competitive games are being organized by the National Sports Council. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

The best of the best competed today in the national primary school basketball championships that took place simultaneously at the Belize City Civic Centre and Bird’s Isle for the female and male divisions, respectively. Each team is to comprise of at least ten young athletes and would play a total of four games in hopes of winning the title and bragging rights as the 2019 champions.


Kaya Cattouse

Kaya Cattouse, Sports Coordinator, National Sports Council

“At the primary school level, this is where you basically decide this is the sport I like. I am going to high school; you find a more profound interest, you play more and maybe you do it extracurricular and not only in school. But we have decided to also give the male and female MVP a thousand dollar scholarship to the high school of their choice. So Sports Council is indeed stepping up our game as it relates to trying to get our athletes out and to keep them in school as well.  So we have six teams; they are divided into two divisions and in your division you play a single round robin which means that everybody plays everybody. The top two teams from each division moves on so two are eliminated. We move on to four at the semi-finals. And of those four, two play for third place and the other two play for first place. So in order to win today, you have to play four games—two in your preliminary round, one semi-final and the championship game.”


It is at this level that the uniquely talented athletes, who would go on to the semi-pro league, are discovered. Some of the big names in basketball, like “Coope” and Devin Daly, started out at this national level. And there was no shortage of talent then or today. Former two-time MVP champion Briah Clarke came out in support. Now a high school student, she recounted her days being on the winning team for two consecutive years.


Briah Clarke

Briah Clarke, 2-Time MVP, National Primary School Basketball Championship

“I think that at Belize, females noh get as much opportunities like all they do is focus on the males. I think I mi need fi come yah cause nuff ah dehn look up to me and I think if dehn see the support, more females will start to come.”


Duane Moody

“Talk to us about their mindset; playing the game and know that the championship is on the line.”


Briah Clarke

Yo just have to go with an open mindset. First of all yo have to seize the moment cause noh every year yo wah come yah, butyo also have to have discipline also.”


Duane Moody

“What’s your impression of the girls that you are seeing playing today?”


Briah Clarke

“They really play good. They are playing very well, especially on the defensive end.”


Duane Moody

“Now you dah mi MVP; talk to us about the skills, what is it that is needed to play basketball at the level that you were playing at and to play it good?”


Briah Clarke

“First of all yo have to thank God for everything. Yo just have to put in the work cause hard work works.”


While the Sports Council hosts the competitions, it takes a lot to train and prepare these student athletes for the nationals.


Kaya Cattouse

“The training is done by the school teams; however, we do assist by sending our coordinators in schools that request training or you know we have coaching courses every now and then. Over the summer, we try to do some workshops for teachers and coaches so that they can be better able to assist their school teams.  I can tell you that the children that are here are the best of the best. They have played a tournament within their district and they have won in order to have made it here today. So definitely we have an abundance of talent in every sport at this level. So I am hundred percent sure that we are seeing a whole lot of talent here today. Now in terms of what is going to be done with it is another question.”



Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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