SHOWN, from left to right, are Kelsie Johnson-Sillis, acting director of sports, Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Mario Bowleg and consultants Rev Harrison Thompson and James “Jimmy” Clarke.
By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
MINISTER of Youth, Sports and Culture Mario Bowleg officially launched the return of the Father Marcian Peters Invitational Basketball Tournament.
Geared for primary boys and girls, junior boys and senior girls’ teams, the 34th edition of the invitational with a double elimination format will take place December 9-13 at the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium.
“It is our hope that teams participating in the tournament will give their players on their registered rosters at least five minutes of playing time for us to showcase the growth and development of the game of basketball,” Bowleg said.
“That means that if you bring a roster of 12 or 15 players, it is hoped that you will play all of your players.”
Bowleg, a former player/ coach and president of the Bahamas Basketball Federation, said Father Marcian Peters spent 45 years in the country developing the game and they hope to continue the legacy left behind by the ‘Sporting Priest.’
“We are happy that we can give our young people the exposure through the game of basketball through this basketball tournament,” Bowleg said. “We hope that we will have some Family Island teams participate as well.”
Clarke said in the past, Family Island teams were given a stipend of $250 to assist in getting their teams to the tournament, but this year they have increased the funding to $1,000.
Hopefully, that will inspire more of the Family Islands to bring their teams into the tournament.
According to Bowleg, Father Marcian Peters was a gentleman in the growth and development of the game of basketball here in this country in his 45 years of giving back.
Legendary coach and former player James ‘Jimmy’ Clarke, a consultant in the ministry and the tournament director, revealed that a total of eight senior girls’ teams, six junior girls, 10 junior boys, three primary girls and six primary boys.
Clarke noted that they have decided to eliminate the intermediate boys’ division because of the number of tournaments held in the country for the boys. He said they hope to host a nationally televised game for the senior girls.
“We are trying to develop more Jonquel Jones to play in the NBA and more girls to get into college,” Clarke said. “The boys are doing okay, but we want to highlight more of the girls.”
At the end of the tournament, Clarke said the top senior girls from each school will be selected to participate in a developmental programme on Saturdays where he will be working with them on their shooting game.
Some teams, according to Clarke, will be involved in their examinations and won’t be able to participate.
For those teams wishing to enter, Clarke said they can still contact the ministry to register.
No team will be turned away from registering before the tournament starts on December 9.